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AGR dues: Airtel coughs up Rs 10,000 cr, Voda seeks time

Bharti Airtel paid the Department of Telecommunications Rs 10,000 crore on Monday, as part payment of its AGR dues

AGR dues: Airtel coughs up Rs 10,000 cr, Voda seeks time
AGR dues: Airtel coughs up Rs 10,000 cr, Voda seeks time

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel paid the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Rs 10,000 crore on Monday, as part payment of its AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues, the telecom company said in a statement. The company has said that it will clear the rest of the amount by March 17 as it needs time to calculate dues across 22 circles. “We are in the process of completing the self-assessment exercise expeditiously and will duly make the balance payment upon completion of the same, before the next date of hearing in the SC,” Bharti Airtel said. The company said it will also submit supporting details at the time of making balance payment.

What about Vodafone’s AGR dues?

Vodafone, on its part, requested the Supreme Court to allow it to pay Rs 2,500 crore by Monday and Rs 1,000 crore by February 21 against AGR dues and that no coercive action be taken against it. However, the appeal by senior Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone, was rejected by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

The February 14 notice

The payments roll as the DoT issued the fifth and the final notice to telecom companies for making payments immediately. The notice came after the Supreme Court pulled up Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, as well as officials of DoT, for delaying the payment of AGR dues, in contravention of its October 24 verdict. In the verdict, the SC had upheld the DoT’s definition of AGR and had found the telecom operators guilty of under-reporting their revenues. As per DoT’s assessment, Bharti Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore to the government and Vodafone Idea owes Rs 50,000 crore.

The backdrop

A ruling by the Supreme Court had said that non-telecom revenues should also be included for considering payments of government dues. Thereafter, DoT had handed over bills to not just telecom companies, but also PSUs like GAIL, PowerGrid and OIL. From GAIL, DoT had sought Rs 1,83,076 crore and Rs 22,168 crore from PowerGrid. It has sought Rs 48,000 crore from OIL, Rs 15,019 crore from Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd and Rs 5,841 crore, plus interest, from Delhi Metro Rail Corp Ltd (DMRC).

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