Commerce min bats for Telenor, opposes AG line
The commerce ministry has said so in a recent note, which has the approval of the commerce secretary, to an inter-ministerial group (IMG) headed by department of telecommunications secretary R Chandrasekhar that is looking into the issue of foreign telecom firms seeking compensation for cancellation of their licences by the Supreme Court via its February 2 order. So far other members of the IMG, from the ministries of finance, external affairs and law and the department of industrial policy and promotion, have not taken such a view on the matter.
Telenor, which has a 67.25% stake in Uninor, lost all its 22 circle licences as a result of the judgment, which also cancelled the licences of eight other firms. Telenor, which has made total investments of around R14,000 crore in the country, subsequently sent a notice to the government under CECA (since its India operations are through its Singapore subsidiary) seeking an amicable resolution pending which it would seek compensation. Other foreign telecom operators that have joint ventures with Indian partners who lost their licences — Russia’s Sistema, Capital Global and Kaif Investments, Mauritius, and Axiata Group, Malaysia — have also sent similar notices under the bilateral investment promotion agreements with