Stating that there has to be provision for down payment to avail of staggered payments, the court had observed that there's a need to show bonafide to claim benefits of staggered payment.
Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter on July 20, Vodafone Idea on Saturday said it has paid an additional Rs 1,000 crore, taking its total payment to Rs 7,854 crore, against the total due amount of around Rs 58,000 crore. “In line with the above, the company has on July 17 paid a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore to the department of telecom towards the AGR dues. The company had earlier deposited Rs 6,854 crore in three tranches,” Vodafone Idea said in a regulatory filing.
In the last hearing on June 18, the Supreme Court had said that companies like Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, which had AGR dues but were seeking staggered payment over a 20-year period, should pay upfront a reasonable amount of dues, backed by securities and guarantees before it could consider their plea for a staggered payment. It had also asked the telcos to file audited balance sheets of the past 10 years and asked the DoT to examine their payment plan, securities, and guarantees.
On additional guarantees sought by the court, like bank guarantees or personal guarantees by the directors, both the companies had said that the DoT already has their bank guarantees against licence and spectrum. Vodafone Idea had said the company is not in a position to give any fresh bank guarantees as the parent company has written off investments in the firm. The company had said it has assets worth Rs 42,000 crore, which have been charged as securities to secure borrowing of over Rs 1 lakh crore.
Vodafone Idea had also said that its over Rs 10,000 crore of bank guarantees are lying with the DoT, which should be considered as security. The SC had observed that since all the assets of the company are charged, and it is a foreign company, what happens if it walks away, leaving the assets here?
Stating that there has to be provision for down payment to avail of staggered payments, the court had observed that there’s a need to show bonafide to claim benefits of staggered payment. On its part, Bharti Airtel had said that DoT has their bank guarantee worth Rs 10,800 crore, which can be encashed if it defaults on payment. The company has spectrum worth Rs 1.12 lakh crore, licences and bank guarantees which are far in excess of the demands made.