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Last Updated : Feb 17, 2020 09:34 PM IST | Source:

'End of the road' for Vodafone Idea if bank guarantees encashed by govt: Mukul Rohatgi

Rohatgi said that there is "hardly any money left in the (company's) kitty" and that he asked them to scrape the bottom of the barrel to shell out Rs 3,500 crore for repayment of dues.

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Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Vodafone Idea in the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) case, said that if the telecom company's bank guarantees are encashed, "the whole thing is over".

In an interview to CNBC-TV18 on February 17, Rohatgi added the closure of the company would not help either its employees or the 30 crore-odd subscribers of the company.

Rohatgi said that there is "hardly any money left in the (company's) kitty," and that he asked them to scrape the bottom of the barrel to shell out Rs 3,500 crore for the repayment of dues. The idea being to pay what is possible to show the comapany's bonafides.


Rohatgi said that the only solution forward would be for the government to take a structured approach. He suggested that the government engage in dialogue with the company to come up with a figure that would be paid through a staggered plan so that the company and its subscribers are saved, and the Supreme Court order can also be met.

He also added that the company did not file any fresh petition today and that the same had already been done on February 14. Rohatgi said that all Vodafone Idea asked of the Supreme Court on February 17 is to not let the government rock the boat.

He also said that the previous February 14 midnight deadline for repayment of AGR dues was not set by the SC but the creation of some officer.

Following the February 14 order of the SC, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had asked all telecom companies to repay their AGR dues by the end of the day in order to comply with the verdict of the court that was given in October last year.

Also Read | Bharti Airtel pays Rs 10,000cr to govt towards statutory dues

In line with the direction, Bharti Airtel, on February 17, said it has paid Rs 10,000 crore to the DoT as part-payment for AGR dues, adding that it will clear the remainder of the dues after the completion of its self-assessment exercise.

Also Read | AGR dues: Mismatch in calculation may result in protracted dispute

Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea, in a filing on the exchange on February 17, said that its board had authorised the immediate payment of Rs 2,500 crore in AGR dues to the DoT, with another Rs 1,000 crore to be paid by the end of this week.

This comes after the Supreme Court earlier during the day refused to hear the Vodafone's proposal to pay the aforementioned amount by end of the day.

Rohatgi told the SC that the company is willing to make the payment of the said amount, while also seeking that no coercive action be taken against it. He had also urged that the telco's bank guarantees not be encashed.

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First Published on Feb 17, 2020 09:34 pm
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