The Supreme Court on September 1 gave telecom companies 10 years to repay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, putting an end to a case that was being watched closely for its implications for the telecommunications sector.
While giving the 10-year timeframe, from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah directed telcos to pay 10 percent of the AGR dues upfront.
A default would invite interest, penalty, along with contempt of court. The court also said no revaluation of AGR dues would be allowed.
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The court had in October 2019 upheld the expanded definition of AGR as given by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which demanded more than over Rs 1 lakh crore from service providers.
As per the DoT assessment, total amount was Rs 1.19 lakh crore — Vodafone Idea owed Rs 58,254 crore, Bharti Airtel Rs 43,989 crore and Tata Teleservices owed Rs 16,798 crore to the government.
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Vodafone has already paid a part of its AGR dues and has Rs 50,399 crore pending, while Airtel’s outstanding amount is Rs 25,976 crore, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court on July 20.
Dues for insolvent companies were also identified and as per the assessment, the now-bankrupt telcos had dues around Rs 40,000 crore — Reliance Communications owes Rs 25,199 crore, Aircel Rs 12,289 crore and Videocon Rs 1,376 crore.