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NEW DELHI, March 13 (Reuters) - India has asked the country's top five telecommunication carriers to pay a combined 18.42 billion rupees ($339 million) in additional fees after a government audit found they had under-reported revenues over two financial years, a minister said, although the companies have disputed the demand.
Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Group Plc's Indian unit, Reliance Communications Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd had under-stated their revenues by a combined $2 billion over two financial years to March 2008, the minister said.
Carriers in India are required to share a percentage of their revenue every year with the government as licence fees. The government had in 2009 ordered an audit of their books after allegations of under-reporting.
The government has asked Reliance Communications to pay 6.23 billion rupees including interest while Tata Tele is asked to pay 5.05 billion rupees, Milind Deora, minister of state for communications, told parliament.
Bharti has been asked to pay 3.32 billion rupees, Vodafone India 2.47 billion rupees and Idea 1.34 billion rupees, Deora said.
However, different courts have temporarily halted execution of the demand notices, Deora said in a written reply to a question from a lawmaker.