Supreme Court reserves its order in Airtel, Vodafone Idea's Adjusted Gross Revenue case
Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea's plea seeking direction for correction of errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation.
Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea's plea seeking direction for correction of errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation. A three-judge Bench of the apex court, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, reserved its order today after Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea submitted to the apex court and complained that there were errors in AGR calculation.
The Supreme Court said list the matter after two weeks, and asked the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) to file a detailed response on the application filed by TATA, Vodafone Idea, and Airtel. Senior lawyer, Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone Idea, submitted to the apex court that the issue was going up and down as AGR definition was not clear. "We had succeeded in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), but the judgment was set aside. Then, entire liability was imposed on us along with interest and penalty; dues around Rs 58,000 crores," he submitted.
While trying to let the court understand how the entry was wrongly made, Rohatgi cited an example and said that in one of the entries, the actual payment made was Rs 155 crores, but the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) considered it as in final total is around Rs 153.2 crores. "I have paid Rs 7,854 crore. I have complied with the undertaking to pay, which I have done," Rohatgi for Vodafone Idea said.
"I am not blaming DoT, not asking for a review. Not doing anything," Rohtagi said. The Supreme Court, while citing its earlier order, said the reassessment and reevaluation can't be done in this case, the earlier judgment says so.
Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the senior lawyer for Airtel, said that there is duplication. Several reports, audits, and checks are reported. Purely by oversight, some payments/deductions are not taken into consideration by the DoT.
"We are not blaming the department, which has not been able to take any decision with respect to our three categories," Dr Singhvi said and made it clear to the apex court that according to them, they have paid much more than 10 per cent, around Rs 18,400 odd crores. Dr Singhvi said, "We are fully complying with the SC judgment. Now I do not want to pay thousands of crores due to these errors (of DoT)."
Supreme Court had, in its judgment in September last year, granted telecom companies including Airtel Bharti, Vodafone Idea, etc a period of 10 years to clear their pending AGR dues to the Central government. The top court had, on July 20, reserved its order on the timeline for the payment of AGR dues by telecom companies after observing that the request of telecom companies seeking 15 to 20 years for the payment of AGR dues in a staggered manner was unreasonable.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by the Central government through the DoT seeking the approval of a formula allowing telecom service providers to make annual installments of unpaid or remaining AGR dues in the next 15-20 years. (ANI)
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