The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to not invoke bank guarantees (BGs) against Bharti Airtel. The government was seeking the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues from Bharti Airtel that Videocon Telecommunications (VTL) owed. The amount sought by the telecom department was Rs 1,376 crore. According to an ET Telecom report, DoT had ordered Bharti Airtel to pay the due amount within a week or else it will have no other option but to invoke the bank guarantees. However, SC has stepped in on the matter and asked DoT to not invoke the BGs right now.
Bharti Airtel Doesn’t Want to Pay AGR Dues of Videocon
A bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao let Bharti Airtel go to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for seeking relief over the issue. In its statement, Bharti Airtel said that it has already paid more than 10% amount from the AGR dues before March 31, 2021, as per the SC order.
Shyam Divan, representing Bharti Airtel said that Bharti had total dues of Rs 45,356 crore and it did not include any AGR dues of buying spectrum from Videocon. Divan said that those dues were of Videocon and only that company should be liable to pay it. Further, Divan claimed that DoT had already sought the amount it is asking for right now from Videocon in the company’s insolvency proceedings.e
The DoT is after Bharti Airtel to seek the AGR dues on the spectrum that Airtel purchased from Videocon. The telecom department had filed an affidavit in April 2021 that in the SC saying that Bharti Airtel is refusing to pay the AGR dues it owes to the government on behalf of Videocon. Thus, DoT had resorted to threatening Airtel for invoking the bank guarantees in case it didn’t pay the amount itself. But the SC has directed DoT not to do this.