The telecom regulator's expenditure on legal issues rose significantly in the last couple of years as it faced an increased number of cases filed mainly by mobile operators.
Such expenses were Tk 1.25 crore last fiscal year and Tk 2.9 crore in fiscal 2011-12. The regulator spent only Tk 60 lakh in fiscal 2010-11.
In the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year, the amount was Tk 64.68 lakh, according to a list of cases and their expenditures produced by the regulator's legal department.
The amounts in recent years were higher as Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the regulator, engaged senior lawyers to deal with the cases. The BTRC was facing around a dozen of cases filed by telecom companies, including mobile operators Grameenphone and Banglalink, WiMax operator Banglalion and landline operator PeoplesTel, according to the list.
Md Abdus Samad, commissioner of legal and licensing department of the BTRC, said expenses went up due to a large number of cases filed by the licensees. “We engaged senior lawyers to face the cases filed by big companies.”
The operators sometimes go to court when the regulator asks them to pay dues, he said. Filing cases against the regulator is not unusual, but the hike in its legal expenditure does not reflect any failure of the telecom regulator; Samad added. “Any aggrieved party can go to court.”
The BTRC has been getting good results from court battles for the last couple of years as it is engaging senior lawyers, said a lawyer of the Supreme Court, who also works as a consultant for some telecom operators.
The BTRC was defeated in only one case, which was with a chartered accountancy firm regarding the appointment of an audit firm that audited Grameenphone, the lawyer said, asking not to be named.