AGR Case: SC Won’t Allow Recalculation of Dues, Vodafone Idea In a Bad Place

The AGR hearing started once the three justices including Justice LN Rao, Justice Abdul Nazeer, and Justice MR Shah were available. Mukul Rohatgi representing Vodafone Idea (Vi) said that there are arithmetic errors in the calculation of dues by the DoT.

Highlights

  • Arvind Datar said AGR has to be in accordance with the law just as taxes and fees
  • The SC said that it has said not once, but thrice that the AGR amount won’t be reassessed
  • SG Mehta has sought for two days time to check with DoT

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AGR

The Supreme Court has today said that it wouldn’t allow re-computation or re-calculation of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. However, if there’s any rectification that needs to be done, it might be allowed (this didn’t come directly from the SC). It is worth noting that the apex court had said that it wouldn’t allow reassessment of the dues; however, it didn’t say that if any errors are there, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) can’t correct it. This was pointed out by the Tata Tele counsel, Arvind Datar.

Vodafone Idea Says About to Go Under

As per CNBC, the AGR hearing started once the three justices, including Justice LN Rao, Justice Abdul Nazeer, and Justice MR Shah was available. Mukul Rohatgi representing Vodafone Idea (Vi), said that there are arithmetic errors in the calculation of dues by the DoT.

Rohtagi shared an actual entry as an example where Vi had paid Rs 155 crores to the telecom department, but the DoT’s payments only reflected Rs 153 crores. In a desperate statement, Rohtagi shared that Vi is about to go under if its debt of Rs 1.8 lakh crores is not addressed and requested the court to place the telco’s calculations in front of the DoT and let the department take the final call.

Bharti Airtel, represented by Abhishek M. Singhvi, said there are payments made to the department which are not accounted for and cases of duplication of dues assessed by the DoT. Singhvi said that the telco is only looking for the DoT to address the errors so that it doesn’t have to pay thousands of crores extra.

Arvind Datar said AGR has to be in accordance with the law, just as taxes and fees. The older SC judgement says the AGR amount can’t be reassessed, but the order doesn’t say that errors can’t be rectified.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that it would be ‘hazardous’ for him to make any statement without talking with the DoT. SG Mehta has sought for two days time to check with DoT if the errors can be rectified.

During the hearing, the SC said that it had said not once but thrice that the AGR amount won’t be reassessed. Thus one thing’s clear; there isn’t going to be any recalculation of the said amount.

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