Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday amid growing concern that the government may invoke bank guarantees of the telcos to recover the statutory dues, a move that may threaten the existence of the company.
The details of the meeting were not revealed to the media. However, reports suggest that Bank guarantees were discussed during the meeting.
An IANS report referred a source as saying, “Birla has raised the ability on sustainability of Vodafone Idea again with DoT in view of the immediate large-scale payments dues on AGR without any relief and also sought non-invokation of bank guarantee.”
As per the data, Vodafone Idea owes Rs 53,000 crore to the DoT and Birla’s meeting with the government officials highlight the urgency and need to save country’s second-largest telecom operator.
Currently, Vodafone Idea has 304 million subscribers and about 13,000 direct employees, and its closing will not only spike the unemployment rate, but also affect country’s one of the primary success stories, Telecom.
Other than this, Vodafone Idea’s bankruptcy will also add burden on bank’s books. With an aim to pay its debts, the company is self-assessing the DoT demand.
Earlier on Monday, the company had proposed the Supreme Court to pay Rs 2,500 crore by Tuesday and Rs 1,000 crore by Friday against adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and that no coercive action be taken against it. However, the apex court rejected the company’s proposal.
The company had urged the court that the bank guarantee deposited with the government by Vodafone Idea should also not be encashed. Birla has maintained that without relief on the AGR payout, it may not be possible to continue as a going concern.
(With input from agencies)