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musk: Starlink India chief quits as co refunds pre-orders

NEW DELHI: Sanjay Bhargava, the newly-appointed country director and chairman of the India board of Elon Musk‘s Starlink satellite internet venture, has suddenly resigned, amid a controversy over the company on-boarding customers, without obtaining a requisite government licence.
Bhargava’s resignation comes in as Starlink – a division of Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company – said it had started to refund pre-booking payments collected from prospective customers after a direction from the government.
“I have stepped down as country director and chairman of the board of Starlink India for personal reasons. My last working day was December 31, 2021,” Bhargava said in a cryptic post on LinkedIn late Tuesday, where he also requested for privacy. “I will have no comments for individuals and media so please respect my privacy.”
Starlink had appointed Bhargava – a ‘founding employee’ of PayPal (where Musk was a co-founder) – as country director’ for India from October 1. His resignation came just weeks after DoT objected to Starlink’s moves, asking the public not to subscribe to the company’s plans as it “has not obtained any licence/authorisation for rendering satellite-based internet services.”
“The government has asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering the satellite-based communication services and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India,” DoT had said.

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