A consumer forum and telecom watchdog has demanded a forensic audit of Vodafone Idea, known as Vi, from the central government in a written letter.
The NGO has also requested the government to deny any relief measures requested by the telecom company, such as: increasing tariffs through floor pricing, deferment of payment of statutory dues etc.
The body has further said that Vi’s incapacity to obtain funds highlights its mismanagement of operations and financial management.
They further alleged that the company has the backing of specific financially good promoters but still has been ‘misleading’ the government with incorrect facts.
“The Government cannot continue to extend benefits just to help and keep afloat one single company which is unable to manage its own affairs,” Telecom Watchdog wrote in its letter to Union Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The body added, “It is submitted that this is a fit case for forensic audit of accounts for the last 10 years at least to examine misrepresentation of facts to lenders or diversion of funds to delay or avoid payment of government dues.”
It further stressed that the telco should be counselled to pump in further equity into the company or dilute the existing equity to obtain funds and make new investments to upgrade its network and increase its operational efficiency.
Recently, Vi had written to the telecom department and pursued deferral of spectrum dues amounting to Rs 8,292 crore that is set to be paid in April 2022.
It had also cited the low tariff structure of the telecom industry as the reason behind its inability to raise further funds.
However, Telecom Watchdog argues that Vi has been losing customers due to a lack of investment towards enhancing the quality of its network and failing to properly adopt new technologies such as VoLTE, The Economic Times .