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The government has ordered a special audit of the country's five leading private-sector mobile telecoms firms to check whether there had been any misreporting of revenue, the junior telecoms minister said on Thursday.

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"Certain phone firms have been charged with misreporting their revenue," Gurudas Kamat said in a written reply to law makers in the upper house of the Parliament.

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"Hence, the Department of Telecom has decided to conduct special audit of Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd," he said.

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Separately, the minister said state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's net profit for the year to March 2009 had dipped to 1.04 billion rupees ($21 million) as revenue fell and wage costs rose.

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He did not give the comparable figure for the previous year.

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Revenue for the year to March was 349.37 billion rupees, the minister said, 8 percent lower than 380.53 billion rupees in the previous year as reported on BSNL website.

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The state-owned firm's board last year approached the government for permission to sell 10 percent stake in an initial public offer and an official had said they expected to raise about $10 billion from the IPO. The offering ran into opposition from the government's communist allies and the firm's employees.

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BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal said last month the government, which no longer relies on the support of the communist parties, was again thinking about the share sale and a decision should come shortly.

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In a written response to another question, Kamat said new telecom operators Etisalat DB Telecom, Unitech and S-Tel had told the government they were deploying network infrastructure.

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Norway's Telenor is taking a majority stake in Unitech telecoms business, while Bahrain Telecommunications Co is taking a 49 percent stake in S-Tel. Both the firms have said that they would start operations during October and December.

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