A public interest litigation has been filed in the Delhi High Court
seeking inspection of the SEBI records permitting Bharti Infratel Ltd.
to invite public offering for cell phone towers, allegedly without
considering radiation norms.
A division bench of Justice D. Murugesan
and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw last week agreed to hear the PIL and
clubbed it with a similar petition pending before it.
The court would next hear the plea Jan 30, 2013.
Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) grants permission to private
companies for raising funds through public offerings in the capital
markets in accordance with existing guidelines. However, the plea
alleges that in this case, "SEBI has not strictly followed its own
The approval by SEBI to the Bharti Infratel (BIL), the
largest tower infrastructure provider in India for cell towers, would
lead to serious health hazards in case radiation norms are not strictly
complied with, the petitioner claimed.
The PIL, filed by one Niraj
Kumar, has questioned "whether the market regulator SEBI could have
permitted BIL to invite public offering for its cell phone tower
installation business across the country without disclosing through
self-certification before Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring
(TERM) that the existing towers were radiation norms-compliant and
whether this disclosure was not a requirement under SEBI."
has claimed that the Draft Red Herring Prospectus and
Red-Herring-Documents filed with Registrar of Companies(ROC) says that
"currently the Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) radiation norms are
applicable only to telecommunication service providers and do not apply
to tower and related infrastructure."
"The petitioner felt that
this statement was misleading and there ought to have been an assurance
by the issuer that all cell phone towers are radiation compliant," said
BIL has "willfully" not disclosed how many towers
under various circles have been self-certified and whether the tower
radiation meets the requirements of the International Commission on
Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) norms, the PIL further
"As of Sep 30, 2012, BIL owned and operated 34,220 towers
in 11 telecommunications circles, while Indus Towers Ltd. (a joint
venture company promoted by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular)
operated 1,10,561 towers in 15 telecommunications circles," the petition
The plea also sought direction for BIL not to utilise
public money raised through the IPOs in the business without there being
any assurance that these towers were radiations-norms compliant.
on Dec 11, the high court had refused to stay the initial public
offering (IPO) of BIL on a petition alleging that the foundation of the
issue is fraudulent.
The court had asked the SEBI to present records relating to its approval to the company for launching the IPO.