The Central Government on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking approval of a formula to allow telecom service providers to make annual instalments of around Rs 1.47 lakh crore Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues in the next 20 years or more.
Mentioning before the top court the matter of Adjusted Gross Revenue, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has tendered unconditional apology in the contempt case.
DoT has said that the interest on the principal and penalty not be charged beyond judgment date, while dues payable to the government be protected by a levy of 8 per cent interest on staggered payments.
The Department also sought the apex court’s nod for a formula arrived at for recovery of dues from telecom companies after detailed deliberation by government and cabinet.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea has said that it has cleared the principal amount towards AGR dues as it paid Rs 3,354 crore to DoT on Monday.
The payment comes a day ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the issue of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). In a regulatory filing, the telecom operator had earlier paid a sum of Rs 2,500 crore on February 17, 2020, and a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore on February 20 towards the AGR liability.
“The company has today paid a further amount of Rs 3,354 crore to the DoT, being the balance part of the principal amount towards AGR liability. Thus the company has paid the full principal amount of Rs 6,854 crore towards the AGR dues,” it said.
According to Vodafone Idea’s own assessment, its AGR dues stand at Rs 21,533 crore and the principal amount out of the total dues is Rs 6,854 crore.
However, according to the DoT’s estimate, the company’s overall dues stand at Rs 53,000 crore. The other major player Bharti Airtel has already said that it has paid its full adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of about Rs 13,000 crore.
After meeting Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on March 11, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said as the government directed the company has paid the full amount.
He said that the full AGR dues is about Rs 13,000 crore, and Rs 5,000 crore is extra, adding that the company has also submitted its self-assessment document.
The Supreme Court had in February come down heavily on the telecom companies for not paying dues to the tune of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the Government and summoned their top executives to court to explain why its order on clearing dues was not followed.
On January 16, Justice Mishra-led bench had already rejected the telecom service providers’ plea seeking a review of its earlier order that allowed the government to collect dues worth Rs 92,000 crore from them. It further asked them to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore in statutory dues by January 23, saying it did not find any “justifiable reason” to entertain them.
The top court had on October 24 last year ruled that the statutory dues needed to be calculated by including non-telecom revenues in AGR of telcos.