AGR dues: Who pays for RCom, Aircel and Videocon? Supreme Court to examine

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Published: July 21, 2020 7:10 AM

The three firms, which filed for bankruptcy, together owe around Rs 40,000 crore of the total Rs 1.67 lakh crore owed by various telcos as AGR dues.

Under the spectrum trading agreement which is approved by the DoT, the dues after the approval date is borne by the buyer of spectrum whereas dues prior to it are the liability of the seller.Under the spectrum trading agreement which is approved by the DoT, the dues after the approval date is borne by the buyer of spectrum whereas dues prior to it are the liability of the seller.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought all records of Reliance Communications, Aircel and Videocon Telecommunications to ensure that these companies did not misuse the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to escape their AGR dues. The three firms, which filed for bankruptcy, together owe around Rs 40,000 crore of the total Rs 1.67 lakh crore owed by various telcos as AGR dues. As is known, companies which file for bankruptcy get a moratorium on their loans and other dues.

While Aircel has sold its 3G and 4G spectrum to Bharti Airtel, RCom has traded a large portion of its spectrum to Reliance Jio. Videocon Telecommunications has also sold its spectrum to Bharti.

Under the spectrum trading agreement which is approved by the DoT, the dues after the approval date is borne by the buyer of spectrum whereas dues prior to it are the liability of the seller.

The dues reflecting in the account of Aircel and Videocon are thus their liabilities prior to the sell-off date. In the case of RCom, of the total dues of around `25,000 crore, around `13,000 crore could be the liability of Jio as per the declaration given by the two companies to the DoT at the time of the trading pact. However, Jio disputes this interpretation.

“Several telcos with AGR dues of over Rs 38,000 crore are currently in liquidation. Need to ensure that IBC is not being misused by telcos to escape liabilities. Why have they gone into liquidation? Bonafides of their actions needs to be checked,” Justice Mishra said, observing that RCom has huge unpaid AGR dues.

It also asked the DoT file a report within seven days from Monday and posted the matter for further hearing on August 10.

Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing on behalf of the resolution professional appointed in the RCom insolvency case, said the Ambani firm is under moratorium and its assets cannot be touched as of now.

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