‘Will withdraw nonserious cases against Patidars’
GANDHINAGAR: In a bid to placate the Patidar community ahead of Assembly elections, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday announced that it would withdraw all “non-serious” cases lodged against the community members during the agitation for OBC quota. However, the government did not give any definite assurance about withdrawal of two sedition cases against the quota agitation leader Hardik Patel. NEWDELHI: Tata Sons Ltd will sell its consumer mobile business to India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd virtually for free, as part of the group chairman’s strategy to exit businesses which have been a prolonged drag and have little visibility of future profits.
Airtel is acquiring the assets on a debt-free, cash-free basis, except for it assuming a fraction of the unpaid spectrum fees that the Tata group owes to the department of telecommunications (DOT), the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The telecom industry, particularly smaller operators such as Tata Teleservices Ltd, has been hobbled by a crippling price war after the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
This has triggered a wave of consolidation in the industry, including a merger between Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd. Airtel’s acquisition of the Tata assets will help narrow the gap between it and the Vodafone-idea combine. Bharti Airtel will assume ₹2,000 crore of the ₹10,000 crore that the Tata group companies owe DOT, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
All other liabilities and dues will be settled by the Tata group, the statement said.
The merger is subject to requisite approvals and involves two of the Tata group companies—tata Teleservices Ltd and Tata Teleservices ( Maharashtra) Ltd (TTML).
Airtel will absorb Tata’s mobile phone operations across