SC orders DoT to not invoke financial institution ensures of Airtel for Videocon’s AGR dues
New Delhi: The Supreme Court docket Tuesday directed DoT to not invoke the financial institution ensures (BGs) of Bharti Airtel for 3 weeks for recovering ₹1,376 crore in AGR-related dues of Videocon Telecom Ltd (VTL) which had bought its spectrum to the Bharti group.
The highest court docket, which refused to entertain Airtel’s plea that VTL dues should not payable by it, permitted the telecom main to strategy the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) with the grievances.
“The DoT shall not invoke the financial institution assure of Respondent…(Bharti Airtel) for the interval of three weeks from in the present day,” a bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah mentioned in its order.
On the outset, the bench made clear to senior advocate Shyam Divan, showing for Airtel, that it’ll not intrude with the sooner judgement.
“We’re making it very clear that we’ll not intrude with the judgement and we offers you the freedom to withdraw to strategy the suitable discussion board,” the bench mentioned.
It additionally famous the submissions of Solicitor Normal Tushar Mehta, showing for the Division of Telecom, that DoT will probably be permitted to boost all of the grounds together with the objection to the jurisdiction, if any, earlier than the discussion board to be chosen Airtel.
Airtel mentioned a DoT communication of August 17 has directed it to pay AGR associated dues of VTL inside every week, failing which the BGs.
Divan referred to numerous paperwork together with the spectrum buying and selling pointers and mentioned that the dues — arising from the Adjusted Gross Income or AGR of VTL, the vendor of the spectrum — have been identified on the time of the sale and therefore the vendor and never the client could be mounted with the legal responsibility to pay.
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VTL had bought its spectrum to Bharti Airtel in pursuance of agreements entered into them in 2016.
The Bharti group has already paid ₹18,004 crore in AGR-related dues to DoT by March 31, 2021 which is far more than 10 per cent of its whole AGR dues of over ₹43,000 crore, he mentioned.
In its September final yr order, the apex court docket had mentioned that telecom operators shall make the cost of 10 per cent of the entire dues as demanded by the DoT by March 31, 2021 and the remainder be paid in yearly instalments from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031.
Divan argued that Airtel shouldn’t be proceeded towards with out being granted an affordable alternative to boost the grievances earlier than an acceptable discussion board.
The bench then recommended the DoT saying: “We’ll allow him to withdraw and go earlier than the TDSAT and maintain your hand for two-three weeks.”
The highest court docket on July 23 had dismissed the functions filed by telecom majors, together with Vodafone Concept and Bharti Airtel, in search of rectification of the alleged errors in calculation of AGR associated dues payable by them.
“All of the miscellaneous functions are dismissed,” the bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao mentioned whereas saying the order.
The telecom firms had submitted earlier than the apex court docket that arithmetical errors within the calculation be rectified and there are circumstances of duplication of entries.
The highest court docket in September final yr had given a time interval of 10 years to telecom service suppliers struggling to pay ₹93,520 crore of AGR associated dues to clear their excellent quantity to the federal government.
The highest court docket, which had held that demand raised by the DoT in respect of AGR dues will probably be remaining, had mentioned there shall be no dispute raised by the telcos and there shall not be any re-assessment.
The apex court docket had in October 2019 delivered its verdict on the AGR concern.
The DoT in March final yr had moved a plea within the high court docket in search of permission for permitting staggered cost of the dues by telcos over a interval of 20 years.
This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.