Leading Indian television channel distributors Star Den, MSM Discovery and Zee Turner have been referred to the regulator by the broadcast tribunal for allowing their signals to be distributed illegally in Himachal Pradesh by Fastway, a multi system operator (MSO).
The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) also imposed a fine of INR 25,000 on each company to be paid to the rival MSOs - Solan Sat TV, Bridge View Broadband Network and Solan Communication - who brought the case before it, reports the Press Trust of India.
"We are sending a copy of this order to the Regulator (TRAI) only for the purpose of considering as to whether it is possible for them to enquire as to how the Respondent No.4 [Fastway], which is said to be dominating the field of broadcasting and cable services in the State of Punjab, had been permitted with the connivance of the broadcasters to sneak in the State of Himachal Pradesh to start its services without entering into any proper subscription agreement with the Broadcaster and by the process acquired 65% of the market," said the tribunal.
It added: "To us, it appears that [Fastway] had been able to acquire the market by reason of adopting a wrongful method for the purpose of frustrating any competition amongst the service providers."
TDSAT will reportedly also send its findings to the Post Masters of Shimla and Solan, the authorities authorised to license cable operators, so that they can take "appropriate action" against Fastway Transmissions.
Star Den is an equal joint venture between Star India and DEN Networks; Zee-Turner is a 76:24 venture between Zee Entertainment and Turner India; and MSM Discovery is a 74:26 venture between Multi Screen Media (which runs Sony Entertainment TV in India) and Discovery Communications.