Norwegian telco Telenor and its JV partner Unitech have moved the Company Law Board (CLB) to give new dimension to the battle emerging out of the cancellation of 122 spectrum licences by the Supreme Court early this month. Uninor has lost 22 licences in which Telenor Group holds a majority stake of 67.25%, and has invested Rs 14,000 Crore in establishing and running Uninor operations.
"On Friday, February 24, we moved the Company Law Board to prevent any wrongful obstruction of our effort to secure our investments and the welfare of Uninor''s four crore customers, employees and partners," the Norwegian telecom company said.
In its petition filed in CLB on Monday Unitech blamed Telenor saying it has been pursuing the sole objective of pushing Unitech out of Uninor and assuming complete control to enforce its rights and to prevent its partner from assuming full control over the business, including assets.
"Telenor is trying to rescind the shareholders' agreement and annul the articles of association of Uninor only to get out of certain protective provisions for the minority shareholders including the non-compete provision. In fact, even prior to the Supreme Court's order ... Telenor has been pursuing the sole objective of pushing Unitech out of Uninor and assuming complete control. Unitech is equally sensitive to the interests of customers, employees, and other stakeholders of Uninor but will continue to resist any mala-fide and/or unilateral action by Telenor," Unitech said in a statement.
Last week Telenor Group had said that it was looking for a new Indian joint venture following Supreme Court verdict cancelling 122 spectrum licences allotted during 2008.
Telenor Group had issued to Unitech a notice of voidance of the current shareholders' agreement with Unitech on account of fraud and misrepresentation on their part as established by the Supreme Court judgment. Telenor had also demanded damages from Unitech accusing it of "fraud and misrepresentation" of facts based on which it had invested over Rs.6,000 crore in the joint venture with the real estate firm.Unitech has responded by saying, “"It is shocking that Telenor intends to transfer the entire business to a new affiliated entity owned by itself. This not only shows complete disregard and oppression of the minority shareholder by Telenor, but is also against all principles of related party transactions. Telenor cannot transfer any assets of Uninor without the consent of Unitech because we have veto right in the shareholders' agreement as well as in the articles of association for such matters," it further said.