Bharti Airtel did not want to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues that were owed by Videocon Telecommunications to the government. Now, in a fresh development, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has put a stay on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) order for Airtel to pay Rs 1,376 crores owed by Videocon in the form of AGR dues to the Centre. But Airtel said that while purchasing the spectrum from Videocon in 2016, the liabilities were known, and the full liability was of the seller (Videocon). On those grounds, Airtel said that it would not pay the AGR dues of Videocon. Further, the second-largest telco said that it has already paid more than 10% of its dues to the government.
Airtel and DoT Case on AGR Dues of Videocon Shifted to Supreme Court
Now, the next hearing of the case will take place on November 16, 2021, in the Supreme Court (SC). According to a PTI report, for now, TDSAT has asked DoT to not take any action, including invoking of Bank Guarantees (BGs) against Airtel for not paying the dues.
The confusion is there because, as per the ruling made by the Supreme Court in 2020, it was said that the liability of the dues of Videocon would be shifted to the buyer. But Airtel has said that it has already paid the dues it was supposed to pay and the Videocon dues, which were known at the time of the sale between the two companies, is not its liability.
For the unaware, Videocon had sold its rights to use spectrum in six circles to Airtel in the 1800 MHz frequency band for Rs 4,428 crore. The deal took place way back in 2016. Airtel has argued that the law states it is the liability of the seller to clear all the dues and not the buyer. While the DoT is after Airtel based on the order that the SC had given during the AGR dues case ruling last year.