AGR cost dispute: SC reserves order

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on personal telecom corporations’ plea in search of permission to pay their dues on account of adjusted gross income (AGR) in a staggered method unfold over a interval of a number of years.

While Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel need 15 years to clear their AGR dues, Tata Teleservices has sought as much as 10 years to pay up.

A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra made it clear to the telecom corporations that they wanted to deal with the AGR dues calculated by the DoT as remaining even because the Centre favoured a relaxed timeline to clear the dues.

It requested the DoT to submit particulars of insolvency proceedings of Reliance Communications, Aircel and Videocon Telecom inside per week because it needed to see if the insolvency proceedings had been bona fide. 

“Several telcos with AGR dues of over Rs 38,000 crore are below liquidation. Need to make sure that IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) shouldn’t be being misused to flee liabilities,” the Bench stated whereas posting the matter for additional listening to on 10 August.

On June 18, the highest court docket had requested personal telecom corporations to furnish their books of accounts and steadiness sheets of previous 10 years to show their monetary potential to clear their AGR dues.

In a setback to beleaguered telecos, it had on January 16 dismissed the overview petitions filed by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and others in search of overview of its order asking them to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore in previous statutory dues by January 23 on account of AGR.

The court docket – which on October 24, 2019 dominated that the statutory dues wanted to be calculated by together with non-telecom revenues in what is named AGR of telcos – had stated there was no “justifiable reason” to entertain their pleas. 

It has already issued contempt notices to telecom corporations, together with Airtel and Vodafone Idea, for his or her failure to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore statutory dues ordered by it to be paid to the DoT by January 23.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had instructed Parliament in November final yr that telecom corporations owe the federal government Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence charge, and one other Rs 55,054 crore in excellent spectrum utilization fees.

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