In what is seen as a setback for Idea Cellular Ltd's ambitious growth plans, the Delhi high court on Monday ordered that Idea can't take advantage of the six telecom licenses it acquired through its merger with Spice Communications Ltd last year until it receives permission from the department of telecommunications (DoT).
The court, while directing Idea and Spice to surrender the overlapping licences in Punjab and Karnataka circles to DoT, also slapped a fine of Rs1 crore on Idea for ''not giving correct information'' on its merger with Spice.
Passing the judgement on the merger application of Idea and Spice, a bench headed by justice Manmohan noted that Idea had not put on record the rejection letters by DoT on merger of licences, and also did not adduce other relevant documents.
''It is directed that notwithstanding anything stated in the sanctioned scheme and in the order dated 5 February 2010, the six overlapping licences of Spice would not stand transferred or vested with Idea till prior permission of DoT is obtained,'' the court said.
Spice had licences for six circles which were overlapping with Idea. While four of these were non-operational, two licences in Punjab and Karnataka were operational. After the court's order both the operative licences have to be surrendered to DoT.
Justice Manmohan said, ''Cost should be imposed on Idea for not bringing to the notice of this court the rejection letter dated 7 and 18 January 2010 issued by the DoT, and for not placing on record relevant and material documents like licences and merger guidelines and correspondence exchanged between the parties.''