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CBI investigating alleged violation of telecom laws by SingTel

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating into a complaint by the Department of Telecom (DoT) for alleged violation of laws by SingTel, which offered international long distance (ILD) services without a licence.

"With regard to action against the non-licensed entity SingTel for violation of the Telegraph Act, 1885, DoT registered a complaint in this regard with the Economic Offence Wing of CBI on November 29, 2010 and the matter is presently under investigation by CBI," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said on November 9, in reply to a letter from a Member of Parliament.

SingTel was billing local customers in India without having licence, flouting the telecom norms and conditions. The issue was brought before the government by a Lok Sabha MP.

The government has already fined Rs 50 crore each Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications which had an arrangement with Singapore Telecommunication (SingTel).

The DoT complained that the SingTel offering ILD services and it was "acquiring customers in India...", without having a licence thus violating the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The period covered services provided between 2005 and 2009, sources said.

The penalty on Bharti Airtel and Tata Telecom was based on recommendations of an internal DoT committee.

By the licensing norms, Indian ILD operators are authorised to provide Indian circuits to a foreign carrier (like SingTel in this case) so that they are able to provide end-to-end services to their customers in their territories.

The committee found, from submissions made Bharti, that the company had raised the invoice to SingTel at its Singapore address for the portion of circuit provided by Bharti Airtel.

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First Published: Tue, November 15 2011. 00:24 IST