Vodafone Idea files review plea in SC on AGR calculation errors

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August 11, 2021 1:45 AM

It said the excess demand due to these errors is to the tune of Rs 5,932 crore of the principal amount, which would have an overall impact of over four times on the total principal amount due to imposition of interest, penalty and interest on penalty.

The three operators in their individual pleas had earlier told the SC that they were not seeking any reassessment of the dues but merely correction in arithmetical errors.The three operators in their individual pleas had earlier told the SC that they were not seeking any reassessment of the dues but merely correction in arithmetical errors.

Vodafone Idea on Tuesday filed a plea seeking review of the Supreme Court’s July 23 order that rejected its request for rectification of arithmetical errors in calculation of its AGR dues by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The company reiterated in its review plea that the calculations made by DoT had errors like double counting, not considering payments already made, not adjusting for interconnect payments etc. It said the excess demand due to these errors is to the tune of Rs 5,932 crore of the principal amount, which would have an overall impact of over four times on the total principal amount due to imposition of interest, penalty and interest on penalty.

Sticking to its earlier order, the SC had last month dismissed the individual pleas of the telecom operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices – on the grounds that the telcos under the guise of correcting “arithmetical errors” — wanted a recalculation of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

The ruling was a setback for the operators, especially the financially stretched Vodafone Idea which needs to pay the highest amount.

“The dispute relating to AGR dues had remained pending in courts for a very long period of time and bearing this in mind, this court was at pains to emphasise, at the cost of repetition, that the AGR dues payable by TSPs (telecom service providers) cannot be the subject matter of any future litigation. The order of July 20, 2020, makes it clear that there is no scope for any recalculation/re-computation of AGR dues,” the eight-page SC order passed on July 23 stated.

The three operators in their individual pleas had earlier told the SC that they were not seeking any reassessment of the dues but merely correction in arithmetical errors.

Last year in September, the top court had ordered that the companies need to pay their dues over a 10-year period, after paying 10% of the dues upfront by March 31, 2021. Thereafter, the deferred payment cycle would run till 2031 with the 10% amount to be paid by March 31 every year.

There’s a huge difference between the amounts calculated by the DoT and the self-assessment by the operators. For instance, according to DoT, Bharti Airtel’s dues stand at `43,980 crore, against its own assessment of Rs 13,004 crore. In case of Vodafone Idea, the DoT’s number is `58,254 crore, while its self-assessed amount is Rs 21,533 crore. Similarly, for Tata Teleservices, DoT’s demand is of `16,798 crore against the company’s own calculation of Rs 2,197 crore.

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