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Wednesday, Nov 10, 2004

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Hearing on Reliance plea against MTNL adjourned

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Nov. 9

THE Delhi High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by Reliance Infocomm against Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, which had slapped a Rs 309 crore fee for allegedly routing international long distance calls illegally.

MTNL had threatened that if Reliance did not pay up, it would withdraw the interconnection.

The adjournment came after Reliance Infocomm informed the Delhi High Court that it was discussing with MTNL to resolve the dispute.

Mr Mukul Rohtagi, senior advocate, told Mr Justice Vikramjit Sen that the private telecom operator was discussing the issue with MTNL and sought adjournment. The matter will now be heard on November 17.

Last week, on a similar charge, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court had directed Reliance to deposit Rs 40 crore with another PSU, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, while asking BSNL to maintain status quo on the interconnect agreement. The matter was adjourned till November 30.

BSNL had served disconnection notice to Reliance Infocomm in at least 30 cities including Chennai, Mumbai and Pune for routing international long distance calls illegally. BSNL has asked Reliance to immediately pay the access deficit charges on the illegal calls or face disconnection.

According to BSNL's complaint, Reliance was routing international long distance calls into the country and terminating on the State-owned company's fixed line network as if it were a local call.

The public sector company has alleged that Reliance was bringing ILD traffic into the country and then changed the caller line identification number of the caller to pass it on to BSNL's telephones as if the calls were originating from less than 50 km.

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