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General News After Sun TV, Discovery takes Reliance Digital TV to TDSAT over dues
[Image: discovery-communication-main.jpg]MUMBAI: After Sun TV Network, Discovery Communications India has moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to recover dues from beleaguered direct to home (DTH) operator Reliance Digital TV.

The DTH operator owes around Rs 7.5 crore to Discovery Communications. Earlier, Sun TV had moved TDSAT to recover Rs 30 crore from the DTH operator.

While admitting Discovery’s petition, the tribunal noted that nobody has appeared for the DTH operator in spite of advance notice. The tribunal asked the broadcaster to issue a fresh notice to the DTH operator by all available means.

Discovery prayed for an urgent interim order to restrain the DTH operator from dealing with/disposing of or parting with its possession, alienating, transferring or selling or encumbering or creating third party rights or charge on any of the assets and movable and immovable properties, advances, and loans or any part thereof.

However, the tribunal stated that it would be appropriate to pass such a drastic order only after notice is served upon the DTH operator. It also granted Discovery the liberty to mention the matter for early listing as soon as notices are served.

The tribunal further stated that it expects the DTH operator to come ready with their future plans in respect of their liabilities such as one pressed by Discovery.

If not taken up earlier, the matter will be listed under the head “for directions” on 21 November, when a Sun TV appeal against the DTH operator is also listed.

Reliance Digital TV is owned and operated by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) under a subsidiary company Reliance Big TV.

RCom, the parent company of the DTH operator, is saddled with Rs 45,000 crore debt and is under pressure to cut-down debt otherwise the banks will convert their debt into equity.

Under pressure from banks, RCom earlier tried to monetise its assets including the DTH business to pare debt. However, the strategy to sell the DTH business came a cropper.

Meanwhile, Reliance Digital TV’s licence was due to expire on 19 November. In a surprise move, the telco announced that it will shut-down Reliance Digital TV from the date of expiry of the licence. It also partnered with Tata Sky to migrate its customers.

Even as the industry was digesting the news, RCom announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Delhi-based company Veecon Media to sell its DTH business.

As part of the deal, Veecon will acquire the entire shareholding of RBTV with business on ‘as-is-where-is’ basis, along with all existing trade liabilities and contingent liabilities.

Veecon will also renew the existing DTH license of RBTV by submitting the required Bank Guarantees with the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).

The transaction will also ensure that all existing 1.2 million customers of RBTV shall continue to enjoy uninterrupted services. It also ensures the continuity of employment for approximately 500 employees of RBTV.

Recently, the tribunal had allowed the impleadment of Veecon in the Sun TV matter after latter’s counsel stated that he does not object to the prayer to implead Veecon Media and Television as respondent no. 3 at this stage. The matter has been posted the matter under the same head on 21 November.

Reliance Digital TV was also threatened by Antrix Corporation of transponder suspension for failure to clear the dues of satellite operator Measat. However, the tribunal granted interim protection to the DTH operator.


Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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