India MSO Fastway Transmissions has been fined some 6.8 billion Rupees (€94.14m) by Punjab state for allegedly deliberately evading tax and non-reporting of subscriber numbers.
The list of alleged transgressions includes not paying India’s entertainment tax, sales taxes and even failure to pay for using electricity poles to carry its cables.
Fastway is a dominant force in Punjab state, and its own data suggests it supplies more than 6000 smaller cable operators (out of some 8000) in the region. As well as carrying TV signals from the major broadcasters it also has some 94 local channel, including news services.
A local politician alleged that Fastway should have paid 500 Rupees for every metre of road occupied by its cables, an additional 1000 Rupees for each manhole cover, plus the already mentioned entertainment taxes.
A statement from Fastway CEO Piyush Mahajan firmly denied the allegations. “The company has permissions from all the departments concerned such as PWD, canal department, forest department and railways, etc. The company is regular in payment of entertainment tax and there are no outstanding taxes due to tax theft by the company. The company is installing the set-top boxes on the basis of refundable security,” he added.