DoT moves SC seeking Videocon’s Rs 1,376-cr dues from Bharti Airtel

By: |
April 9, 2021 3:45 AM

The telecom service providers that are sharing the spectrum are required to pay AGR based dues after considering the additional spectrum rate as well as additional revenue generated from the use of that shared spectrum, the affidavit filed through Amit Katoch, deputy director general (LFP), DoT, stated.

Tata group and Reliance Jio Infocomm have paid Rs 4,197.37 crore (against total dues of Rs 16,798 crore) and Rs 195.18 crore (total demand of Rs 70.53 crore), respectively, the DoT said.Tata group and Reliance Jio Infocomm have paid Rs 4,197.37 crore (against total dues of Rs 16,798 crore) and Rs 195.18 crore (total demand of Rs 70.53 crore), respectively, the DoT said.

The Department of Telecom on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking to recover Videocon Telecommunications’ adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of Rs 1,376 crore from Bharti Airtel.

The DoT told the apex court that it had raised the demand as per the SC’s September 1 judgment. DoT had raised the demand to Bharti Airtel to pay AGR dues of Videocon, which had traded its entire spectrum (30 MHz in 1800 MHz band) to Airtel in 2016. While the DoT had requested Airtel to comply with the SC directions, the teleco had questioned the DoT’s demand. Airtel had responded vide letters of October 16, 2020 and March 4, 2020 saying that “the DoT letter has no basis in law” and “Airtel cannot be held liable for Videocon’s past dues”, the department said in its affidavit to the apex court.

With regard to trading of spectrum, DoT submitted that the letter approving the trading clearly says that the licensor reserves the right to recover the dues which were not known to the parties at the time of the effective date of trade from the buyer or seller, jointly or severally at the discretion as per the trading guidelines of 2015.

The telecom service providers that are sharing the spectrum are required to pay AGR based dues after considering the additional spectrum rate as well as additional revenue generated from the use of that shared spectrum, the affidavit filed through Amit Katoch, deputy director general (LFP), DoT, stated.

The department also informed the SC that it has been able to recover AGR dues of only Rs 30,289.59 crore against the total demand of Rs 1,69,048.65 crore. While the Bharti Airtel group had so far paid Rs 18,004 crore against total dues of Rs 43,980 crore, Vodafone has paid Rs 7,854.37 crore against Rs 58,254 crore demand raised by the department. However, Bharti’s own estimate of AGR dues is Rs 13,004 crore and Vodafone’s company’s own assessment so far is of Rs 21,533 crore.

Tata group and Reliance Jio Infocomm have paid Rs 4,197.37 crore (against total dues of Rs 16,798 crore) and Rs 195.18 crore (total demand of Rs 70.53 crore), respectively, the DoT said.

Meanwhile, the SC is yet to take a call on hearing the applications filed by Airtel, Vodafone Idea and others seeking modification of its order so that the DoT can consider its submissions regarding arithmetical errors in the calculations regarding its AGR dues. The companies have said that the calculations made by DoT had errors like double counting, not considering payments already made, not adjusting for interconnect payments etc.

Vodafone has made it clear that it was not seeking any reassessment of the calculations, something which the SC order has barred, or raising any dispute, but only seeking correction in these arithmetical errors.

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