Reliance Jio plea rejected: Supreme Court dismisses CCI request to probe cartel charges against telcos

By: | Updated: December 5, 2018 12:19 PM

In a major development, Supreme Court has dismissed billionaire Mukesh Ambani -led Reliance Jio and CCI's plea to probe cartelisation charges against telecom players Bharti Airtel and Idea Vodafone.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio had moved CCI in 2017 complaining against Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea of cartelisation.

In a relief to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, Supreme Court has dismissed billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio and CCI’s plea to probe cartelisation charges against incumbent telecom service providers, CNBC TV18 reported. Notably, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Reliance Jio Infocomm had moved the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order.

The Bombay HC order had quashed the investigation ordered by fair trade regulator CCI into charges of cartelisation against Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea in 2017. The CCI had challenged Bombay High Court’s order with respect to its jurisdiction before the Supreme Court.

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In January this year, the Bombay High Court had said that the CCI had “no jurisdiction” to interpret contract conditions or policies of the telecom sector, which was governed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Act, and hence, to order a probe in the case.

The HC hearing had come on a petition filed by Idea, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and the COAI seeking quashing of the CCI order passed on April 21 last year, directing an investigation by its director general into allegations of cartelisation made by Reliance Jio.

The Financial Express had reported last year that Reliance Jio had lodged a complaint with the CCI alleging that the three cellular operators had colluded with each other to prevent it from building its customer base.

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