The Supreme Court of India on Monday reserved its order on the petitions filed by the telecom players in India seeking additional time for the payment of the statutory dues. The apex court in October, 2019, said that the statutory dues need to be calculated by adding the non-telecom revenues in Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGR). The judgement in October ended a 14 year battle between the operators and the government of India. However, the development resulted in the operators owing thousands of crores to the government. According to an affidavit filed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), it was revealed that the Vodafone Idea owes Rs 58,254 crores to the government followed by Bharti Airtel with dues of Rs 43,980 crores.
The former telecom operators in India including Aircel, Reliance Communications and Videocon are also said to owe Rs 12,389 crores, Rs 25,199 crores and Rs 1376 crores respectively.
The Supreme Court on Monday heard the financial conditions of the existing telecom players and the proposals made by the operators on the timeframe of payment of the dues. Vodafone Idea suggested a timeframe of 15 years for the payment of dues that found its support in Bharti Airtel. Tata Telecom with over Rs 16,798 crores of dues requested a time period of seven to 10 years while the DoT stuck to the Union Cabinet proposal of payment within 20 years.
While the Supreme Court reserved its judgement on the case, it was clarified by the Bench that it shall not entertain any objections for reassessment or recalculation of the AGR dues.
The next hearing of the case is now scheduled for August 10 with the operators required to file their written submissions on their proposals. Further, the court asked the telecom operators under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to submit the details within seven days.
According to the reports, it was said that Airtel has paid Rs 18,000 crores to the government with the operator still owing Rs 25,000 crores. Further, Vodafone Idea is said to owe around Rs 50,000 crores to the government as the operator has paid Rs 7854 crore as of Monday. Reliance Jio is said to have completely paid its AGR dues to the government.