While in 2019, the DTH industry in India had five pay DTH operator with the inclusion of Independent TV besides other players like Tata Sky and Dish TV. Come the third quarter of the year, as per the reports studying the July-Sep period, there were only four pay DTH operators in the country. This meant that one of the companies had been shut down and it’s fairly known that taking a nosedive in the industry here was Independent TV. The DTH operator, which was mainly functional in the UP region had been facing financial crunch and was caught in a controversial situation with its parent company being involved in a scam. As such, for a long time, Independent TV subscribers, for a long time, were hopeful that services would resume, but that sadly did not happen. Instead, Independent TV shut shop eventually. However, now the Telecom Disputes Settlements and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has pulled up the bust DTH operator as it has not paid up its dues to IndiaCast.
TDSAT Nails Down Independent TV
In TDSAT, the counsel of Independent TV has also said that it has not made any payments towards the dues that it owes to IndiaCast. The dues are in the quantum of Rs 3.56 crore and Independent TV was given two months to pay these dues. Not only this, but the DTH operator has also failed to show its entire assets since the payment has not been made. The tribunal then noted that the disregard for the deadline and the failure to pay on time for the dues means that Independent TV is likely to face penalties. But, at the same time, TDSAT noted that the actual amount of the penalty would be decided by the further steps that Independent TV takes.
Independent TV’s Plan of Action
As for the list of entire assets of Independent TV, the bust DTH operator has been given three weeks time. In this time, it has to list its entire assets in affidavit and present in the tribunal. Not only this, but the TDSAT has also said that Independent TV should pay the dues by the next date. Now, the matter is under the same head and will be heard on February 4. To recall, Independent TV has shut operations after its transponder service was discontinued by the satellite arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation. Independent TV had failed to pay its dues and the faced disruption in service. Many subscribers of Independent TV also complained to Trai over the disruption of service as they saw black screens for three months. Later on, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting declared that Independent TV’s license renewal had been cancelled on the grounds of frequent disruption in service.
The Fall of Independent TV
At the start of the year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) also confirmed that the total number of pay DTH operators in India remained only four, thus eliminating Independent TV out of the list. The troubles for the DTH operator had started six months back in June 2019, when Antrix Corporation cut its transponder service. Further, TDSAT had asked Independent TV to clear dues worth Rs 12 crore to Antrix to resume services. A while later, Trai also had to intervene in the process and ask Independent TV when it would resume operations. Later on, Independent TV’s website was also put up for sale, meaning that the company had actually shut operations in India.