India investigates SingTel for flouting telecom laws

Department of Telecom's complaint prompts Central Bureau of Investigation to look into allegations SingTel operated international long distance services without license between 2005 and 2009, report notes.

India's Department of Telecom (DoT) has lodged a complaint with the nation's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleging that Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) flouted the law by offering international long distance services without a license.

India news site Business Standard reported on Monday that the CBI was investigating the DoT's complaint against SingTel for violating the Indian Telegraph Act.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was quoted in the report to say: "With regard to action against the non-licensed entity SingTel for violation of the Telegraph Act, 1885, DoT has registered a complaint in this regard with Economic Offence Wing of CBI on Nov. 29, 2010, and the matter is presently under investigation by CBI."

The department alleged that SingTel was billing India customers without holding the necessary telecom license during the period between 2005 and 2009, the report noted.

Local operators Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications, both of which have partnership agreements with SingTel, had already been fined 50 million rupees (US$995,000) by the Indian government after recommendations from an internal DoT committee, it added.

The committee said in Bharti Airtel's case, it had billed SingTel at its Singapore address for the use of its India infrastructure, which the Singapore operator had no license to legally lease from the Indian telco.


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