Info-tech

AGR issue: Telcos may knock on SC’s door today

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on November 22, 2019

Telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Tata Teleservices may move the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday in a plea against the apex court’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) Order last month, seeking more time for payments and also waiving the penalties.

Several sources from the industry told BusinessLine that the plea has been prepared and finalised to move the apex court, seeking its intervention, as they can only do this within 30 days from the day of the SC’s Order (on AGR).

The SC, in its Order on October 24, had rejected the claims made by the telecom operators on the issue of AGR on the ground that the operators had agreed to pay revenue share on all income, as part of a migration package in 1999. It had left the ball in Department of Telecom’s (DoT) court to decide and collect the AGR from the operators within three months. The demand by DoT includes interest, penalty and interest on penalty on the outstanding amount, which amounts to ₹92,641 crore (disputed actual demand is ₹23,189 crore, levy of interest of ₹41,650 crore, penalty of ₹10,923 crore and interest on penalty of ₹16,878 crore). In addition, the SC had allowed DoT to apply the same formula while collecting spectrum usage charge (SUC). This will lead to a payout of another ₹50,000 crore, taking the total to ₹1,40,000 crore.

“The companies have to go for a plea against its Order to the Supreme Court for some respite, including more time on payments and waiver on interest penalties. They are optimistic about a new ruling,” an industry source privy to the matter said.

Published on November 22, 2019

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