TDSAT has directed Sun Direct to make an advance interest free deposit of Rs 3 crore to Neo Sports and sign the RIO published by Neo Sports. Once Sun signs the RIO, the sports broadcaster will have to start supply of signals to the DTH service provider within two days as per regulations.
According to the TDSAT bench headed by Justice Arun Kumar, this was an interim arrangement and hence Sun Direct had been given relief of the burden of paying the whole amount. Sun has to deposit a sum of Rs 1 crore with Neo and for the balance amount of Rs 2 crore, Sun may furnish a bank guarantee.
Earlier, Sun had filed a petition against Neo Sports, which was adjourned, wherein both the parties where given time by TDSAT to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement.
On the next hearing dated November 28, it was found that the parties had failed to come to an agreement on a number of issues. The counsel for Sun Direct had sought the tribunal to go into the validity of some of the conditions imposed by Neo Sports in its RIO and Sun was also keen on getting the signals of Neo at the earliest. The Neo Sports counsel, on the other hand, had taken the stand that there was no formal request in terms of Regulation 3.2 from Sun Direct for supply of signals.
Considering the fact that the tribunal was going to take time in validating the conditions in Neo’s RIO and that there was no formal agreement between the parties for supply of signals, TDSAT at that point could not direct Neo Sports to start supply of signals to Sun Direct.
On the next hearing on the petition on December 18, the TDSAT bench found that the parties were at variance on certain commercial terms in the RIO. Therefore, it has directed the parties to make another effort to sort out the issues. Both the counsel of Sun and Neo have agreed to the suggestion and the commercial teams of both the parties will sit together during the next two weeks in order to sort out the issues. Meanwhile, if Sun desires to start getting Neo Sports signal, it has to sign Neo’s RIO and make the deposit. The final directions of the case will be spelt in the next hearing on January 16, 2009.