Aircel, the bankrupt telco has moved Supreme Court to ask Airtel to pay a sum of Rs 453 crore for 4G spectrum purchased in 2016. The insolvent carrier owned by Malaysian Maxis has filed a petition in the Supreme Court for the same. It’s notable that post its bankruptcy, Aircel was caught in a tight spot because of lack of cash reserve and it wasn’t able to pay its 3,000 something employees. Citing this reason, Aircel said that the Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco is “illegally and unjustifiably withholding and enjoying” the amount which it owes to the company. The two petitions filed in the court will be up for hearing on August 17.
Two Petitions Asking Airtel to Pay Rs 453 Crore
Out of the two petitions filed by the insolvent telco, first one of them asks the former market leader to pay Rs 453 crore to the court or Aircel. The second one of them is about impleading Airtel in a case against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the issue of government wanting bank guarantees from the telco before the time of 4G spectrum sale. In addition to the petition, the company has also remarked that Airtel should not “adjust, set off or appropriate any money payable” while repaying the sum of Rs 453 crore.
Aircel Deepens Allegations Against Bharti Airtel
Aircel said that Bharti Airtel is holding onto a large amount of cash with malicious intent. The telco said “Airtel entities are intentionally indulging in dilatory tactics with mala fide intention to usurp and misappropriate the Rs 453 crore,” further adding to its statement, the insolvent telco remarked that “(Airtel) cannot be permitted to retain the money as ill-gotten gains.”
When ETTelecom asked questions to Airtel, the telco replied: “We have not received any notice in this regard.”
The Controversy in Bird’s Eye
It is noteworthy that in 2016 to get the 4G spectrum deal done; Airtel had furnished three bank guarantees worth Rs 453 crore on behalf of Aircel after DoT demanded the same as a prerequisite for clearing the transaction concerning the 4G airwaves. Now Aircel has alleged that Airtel knows, without any cash flow the insolvent telco will be forced to liquidate its assets.
Aircel knocked the doors of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) which directed that the condition raised by DoT was wrong and the bank guarantees should be returned to Aircel. However, since the bank guarantees have now lapsed, Aircel wants Airtel to make the payment in full with the pending amount summing up to Rs 453 crore.