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HC temporarily stays competition commission probe against Airtel, Vodafone and Idea

The court has sought a detailed probe from COAI for allegedly trying to block the entry of Reliance Jio

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The Bombay High Court on Friday accepted the statement made by Competition Commission of India (CCI), stating that it would not act on the order passed by it against incumbent telecom companies-- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular -- and industry body COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), against whom it has sought a detailed probe, for allegedly trying to block the entry of newcomer Reliance Jio.

A division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice M S Sonak accepted the statement and posted the matter for further hearing to July 28, allowing the telecom companies to amend their petition and file additional affidavits in the case. Until then no coercive action would be taken against the telecom companies.

The telecom companies have moved the high court, against an order passed in April, seeking to probe allegations of unfair trade practice. Reliance Jio had accused that incumbent players had not provided sufficient network connectivity (leading to call failures on its network).

The companies claimed that the order was unfair and illegal and it was not communicated in time. While praying to quash and set aside the order, they argued that if this order was allowed then it would bring disrepute to the companies.

Counsel for CCI said there was no delay in communicating the order to the companies and as per rules 60 days period is given for conducting the probe, which can be extended. The court agreed to the same and granted temporary relief to the petitioners.

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