Telecom Firms Ordered to Open Books for CAG
By Express News Service | Published: 07th January 2014 12:56 PM |
In a major boost for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government, the Delhi High Court on Monday gave its nod to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit the accounts of private telecom companies. The approval comes one week after the AAP had asked CAG to audit power distribution companies.
The court contended that as per the terms of licence agreements, the private telecom companies had undertaken the accounting responsibility on behalf of the Centre. Their accounts, in relation to revenue receipts, can thus be termed as accounts of the Centre and could be subject to CAG’s audit. A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao permitted the country’s top accounting body to conduct audit of private telecom companies under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act. It rejected the separate petitions filed by Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers (AUSPI) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) against the decision of telecom tribunal TDSAT on the issue in 2010. Both associations had argued, in essence, that CAG can’t audit private companies.
In their petitions, the operators had pointed out that they have already put in place mechanism of special audit as envisaged in the licence agreement between Department of Telecom and the companies. Significant revenues could accrue to the government following the decision.