The Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to support Sistema's curative petition filed in the Supreme Court challenging cancellation of its licences. In a recent meeting with top executives of the Russian company, the Secretary of DoT has conveyed that the Government will back the petition.

Sistema Shyam has submitted a petition with the apex court seeking a review of the decision to cancel licences.

The Supreme Court, in February, cancelled all licences issued on or after January 10, 2008 on grounds that they were issued illegally. However, Sistema Shyam has taken a view that its licences should not be clubbed with other players who had got licences in 2008 because it had applied for CDMA spectrum for which there was no demand. Other players had applied for GSM spectrum.

If the DoT supports Sistema's view in court, it could come as a breather to the company.

Representatives of the Russian company told DoT during the meeting that it would be forced to exit India if its licences were not restored. The DoT, in turn, asked the company to take part in the auction in November.

DoT has told the company that it could not control the outcome of the petition filed in the court and hence the company should bid for spectrum. This meeting took place on October 4. Sistema has not put in its bid for the auction and is placing its bets ona favourable order from the court given the backing from DoT.

(This article was published on October 28, 2012)
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