The Supreme Court has ordered the telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to file their audited balance sheets of the past 10 years after telcos refused to provide additional bank guarantees and security against AGR-related payments. The Court said that the next hearing will take place in the third week of July.
The Court has also directed these telcos to come up with payment proposals and asked the Department of Telecommunications to consider them.
Bharti Airtel, in its affidavit, to Supreme Court requested for staggered AGR payments over the period of 20 years and said that it will enable the Bharti Companies to ensure that they also continue to make capital expenditures to support the vision of digital India and allow the customers to have a choice of competing players to deliver services.
Airtel also said that it was fully willing to pay whatever amounts are required to be paid in accordance with the Judgment.
Vodafone Idea, on the other hand, said that it has not made profits for several quarters, and has no funds to make payments towards the AGR-related dues. The telco’s representative lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said that it has not such a proposal for bank guarantees.
Ailing telco Vodafone Idea has also warned that it will “go bust” if it is made to pay AGR dues in one shot. The telco has already paid nearly Rs 7,000 crore and had informed the Court that its licenses and spectrum can be used as security against AGR dues.
The telecom department has sought over Rs58,000 crore from Vodafone Idea.
The Court has also noted that the telecom department has withdrawn 96% of the over Rs 4 lakh crore claims levied against PSUs such as GAIL and Oil India. Airtel, in its affidavit to the Supreme Court, said that that the Bharti Group companies have paid a substantial amount of Rs.18,004 crores so far in compliance with the judgment dated October 24, 2019. “..To that end they have paid a substantial amount of Rs.18,004 crores (Rs. 10,000 crores on 17.02.2020 and a further sum of Rs. 8004 crores on 29.02.2020) to the DoT,” Airtel said in its affidavit.
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