New Delhi: Vodafone Idea has paid the DoT (Department of Telecommunications) Rs 1,000 crore more in its fourth tranche of payment towards AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) dues, taking the total amount paid so far to Rs 7,854 crore. "The Company has yesterday (i.e. 17 July 2020) paid a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore to the DoT towards the AGR dues. The Company had earlier deposited Rs 6,854 crores in 3 tranches. The Company has thus paid an aggregate amount of 7,854 crores towards the AGR dues," the telco said in a regulatory filing on Saturday.
After the latest payment, Vodafone Idea now has to pay around Rs 51,400 crore of AGR dues to the DoT. The Supreme Court is now expected to hear the case on July 20. The DoT has asked telcos to make some upfront payment towards their AGR dues before being allowed to pay the rest in a staggered way over several years.
Airtel has paid Rs 18,000 crore so far and has a balance amount of Rs 25,980 crore to be paid to the DoT. Both Vodafone Idea and Airtel have told the government that they have paid whatever they could as upfront payments. They also asked the DoT to allow them to pay the balance amount over a maximum of 20 years. A nod for this proposition from the Supreme Court is their last hope to get some extra time to pay up the dues.
The dispute over AGR dues has been going on between telcos and the government for the last 16 years. A final decision on the matter was reached only in October 2019 when the Supreme Court backed the DoT, widening the definition of AGR to include non-core items. Vodafone Idea, which has received the hardest blow by the Supreme Court's AGR verdict, has been handed a bill of around Rs 59,000 crore by the DoT. Vodafone Idea's estimate of its own dues is Rs 23,000 crore, including Rs 7,000 crore principle.
(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Telegram. Join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram and stay updated)