Reliance Jio today lashed out at cellular operators’ body COAI for calling it a “back door operator” and warned that leveling such allegations was contempt of court and defamatory. The industry lobby, however, said Reliance Jio’s statement was intended at bringing disrepute to the organisation.
“The press statement of COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews (terming Jio as a back door operator) is surreptitious, defamatory, and an act of contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court of India and devoid of any merit,” Reliance Jio said in a statement.
“COAI and Rajan S Mathews is fully aware that these allegations were part of a public interest litigation filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India…and all of the said allegations have been duly adjudicated upon and rejected by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” it said.
COAI on September 25 had dubbed Reliance Jio as a Back Door Operator or BDO in the telecom sector, after the new player demanded an overhaul of the industry body’s voting rules alleging they only served vested interests of three incumbent dominant operators or IDOs.
Countering Mathews’ claim that issues raised by Jio were bilateral and have been addressed within the association, Reliance Jio said COAI Director General himself had raised several bilateral issues in external forums in the last few months without ever discussing these within the association.
All the forums within the COAI, of which Reliance Jio is also a member, are “controlled by the incumbent dominant operators owing to their disproportionate voting rights,” the statement said.
Countering the Reliance Jio charges, COAI in a release said, “We find the allegations of RJIO to be without merit, bald and motivated. They are intended to bring disrepute to the association.”
The statement further said that the association and the Director General, have “always acted in full compliance with the constitution and by-laws of the association and have always upheld and complied with all the regulations and rules of the land”.
The industry body expressed disappointment that Reliance Jio, itself a member of COAI, had taken internal association matters to a public forum rather than settling them within the association.
“We categorically dismiss the allegations and claims of RIL Jio and will be in communication with them to resolve the matter. We reiterate that appropriate forums exist within the association for discussing these matters and they remain available to RIL Jio…,” COAI said.
Jio, which is locked in a bitter battle with incumbents like Airtel over providing points of interconnection to help its users complete call on rival networks, said Mathews had skirted away from discussing the genuine need to deliberate its concerns and fair need to overhaul COAI’s regulations.