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Last Updated : Jan 16, 2020 08:17 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

SC dismisses AGR review petitions filed by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and others

The deadline for telecom companies to meet the license fee dues as per the apex court's AGR judgement is January 23.

 
 
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The Supreme Court, on January 16, dismissed the review pleas from telecom companies that sought relief on interest and penalty payments in connection to the verdict on Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).

The deadline for telecom companies to meet the license fee dues as per the apex court's AGR judgement is January 23. A CNBC-TV 18 report noted that telecom companies are free to file curative petitions against the dismissal of their AGR review petitions.

These petitions were moved by the companies after the SC's judgement upholding the definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) as decided by the Department of Telecom (DoT). As many as 15 telecom companies would now have to pay dues totalling to Rs 1.47 lakh crore.

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The report also noted that after the Supreme Court's AGR judgement, several non-telecom public sector undertakings (PSUs) like GAIL, DMRC, Power Grid and RailTel were affected as the DoT wrote to them seeking repayment of AGR fee dues. These companies would likely file fresh review pleas. The total dues that the non-telecom PSUs are staring at comes up to a total of around Rs 4.6 lakh crore.

Bharti Airtel expressed disappointment at the court's decision to dismiss the review pleas. The company told CNBC-TV18 that the long-standing disputes raised with respect to the AGR definition were "bonafide and genuine". It added that the industry continues to face severe financial stress and that the latest decision on the matter could further erode the viability of the entire telecom sector.

The industry needs to increasingly invest in expanding networks, acquiring spectrum, and to introduce new technology like 5G, and the company said that the money which will now have to be used to pay dues would have better served India's digital mission. Bharti Airtel also added that it is considering filing a curative petition.

Earlier this month, the SC also rejected the telecom companies' plea to conduct an open-court hearing.

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First Published on Jan 16, 2020 05:19 pm
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