Telecos asked to give details of foreigners in key posts

Telecos asked to give details of foreigners in key posts

In a letter to all cellular mobile operators and Unified Licencees, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has said that if any of such position is held by a foreign national, it would require to be security vetted by the Ministry of Home Affairs on yearly basis. This is as per the notification of the revised guidelines vide Press Note-3 in connection with enhancement of the FDI ceiling from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in the telecom sector.

As per the guidelines "the position of the Chairman, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and/or Chief Financial Officer (CFO), if held by foreign nationals, would require to be security vetted by MHA." Security vetting shall be required periodically on yearly basis. "In case something adverse is found during the security vetting, the direction of MHA shall be binding on the licencee."

In case of individuals, DoT has sought personal details, including passport number and nationality of the foreign national. While in case of firms, they need to submit complete details, including foreign collaborator, shareholding pattern for applicant company and investing company etc.

The department has asked the service providers to submit their request for security clearance in case of above mentioned positions are held by foreign nationals. Various mobile operators have foreign nationals on these positions and are required to be security vetted by the MHA. The companies, however, declined to name such foreign officials.

The telecom firms are also required to submit presence of investing companies and shareholders in countries across the world, including collaborations with other companies as part of the security drill. Asked whether some of the firms were not following the guidelines on annual basis, DoT officials declined to comment but said all the telecom companies are required to do it periodically as per the MHA guidelines. 

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