AGR blow for telcos: SC takes strong note on payment delay, directs firms to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore

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Updated: February 14, 2020 12:28:12 PM

The Supreme Court today took strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telecom firms to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to DoT, according to news agency  PTI.

The Supreme Court directed the Managing Directors and CMDs of telecom companies to be present in the court on its next hearing which is scheduled for March 17.

The Supreme Court today took strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telecom firms to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to DoT, according to news agency  PTI. Shares of Vodafone Idea fell as much as 15 per cent while Tata Teleservices dropped down 5.71 per cent after the apex court hearing. Bharti Airtel was trading largely flat, up by 0.46 per cent. A visibly unhappy, Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah also expressed anguish over the order passed by the telecom department’s desk officer staying the effect of its verdict in AGR matter.

The Supreme Court directed the Managing Directors and CMDs of telecom companies to be present in the court on its next hearing which is scheduled for March 17 to explain why contempt proceedings should not be launched against them for not following the Supreme Court order on payment of AGR dues. “We don’t know who is creating this nonsense. Is there no law left in the country? It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country,” the bench observed.

Vodafone Idea share price spiked Friday morning gaining 15 per cent in value hoping to get some respite from the Supreme Court on AGR dues however after the apex court’ scolding share price went down by 8.89 per cent. Bharti Infratel share price too suffered after the court hearing falling down 5 per cent. Tata Teleservices dropped 5.71 per cent to trade at Rs 3.30.

Among the telecom companies, only Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio has paid its AGR dues while Vodafone Idea that owes over Rs 53,000 crore and Bharti Airtel that owes around Rs 35,000 crore have been trying hard to battle the payment of AGR dues in courts. Earlier on January 16, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had dismissed review petitions of telecom firms seeking review of its earlier order asking them to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore in statutory dues by January 23. The court had said that it did not find any “justifiable reason” to entertain their pleas. 

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