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Bharti Airtel Moves Supreme Court Seeking Modification Of AGR Dues

Radhika Roy
8 Jan 2021 5:09 AM GMT
Bharti Airtel Moves Supreme Court Seeking Modification Of AGR Dues
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Bharti Airtel has moved an Application before the Supreme Court seeking for a limited clarification/modification of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues owed to the Department of Telecommunications as well as a recall of previous orders which allowed the Respondent to appeal against judgement of TDSAT. The Application raises "correction of the basic and arithmetic errors in the...

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Bharti Airtel has moved an Application before the Supreme Court seeking for a limited clarification/modification of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues owed to the Department of Telecommunications as well as a recall of previous orders which allowed the Respondent to appeal against judgement of TDSAT. 

The Application raises "correction of the basic and arithmetic errors in the amounts directed to be paid", for instance, duplication in revenue addition. Errors of omission have been highlighted such as Deduction Verification Report (DVR) received from Circle CCAs was missed by the Respondent while raising a demand.

Additionally, payments that have already been made by the Applications in respect of certain demands have not been considered by the Respondent at all. Errors of commission have also been made with payments made incorrectly being factored in by the Respondent. Further, incorrect interest rate has been applied while calculating payment towards Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) demand.

"It is submitted that the impact of such errors results in significant increase in the amounts being claimed by the Respondent, as for every Re. 1 increase in the principal amount, the levy of interest, penalty and interest on penalty results in the amount being claimed by the Respondent increasing by up to Rs. 8/-, depending on the year to which it pertains".

In light of the above, the Application prays for orders dated March 18, 2020 and September 1, 2020, to modified/clarified/recalled to the extent that they hold that the amount of Rs. 43,890 crores is the final amount due and payable by the Applicants.

Further, it seeks for the Respondent to proceed with finalizing the assessments after taking into account the representations made by the Applicant.

It was reported in the Economic Times that Vodafone Idea has also moved the Supreme Court to seek a modification on the orders of the Apex Court which held that Rs. 58, 400 crore would be the final AGR which must be deposited to the DoT. Other telecom companies are yet to file similar Applications.

In October 2019, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre's plea to recover AGR to tune of Rs. 92,000 crore from telecom service providers and had upheld the definition of AGR as formulated by the DoT. Review petitions filed by the telecom companies such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices were subsequently rejected.

On 1st September, 2020, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra held that the telecom companies who were liable to pay AGR dues shall make a payment of 10% of the dues by March 31, 2021. The DoT's prayer, seeking for a staggered payment over 20 years for telecom firms to discharge their dues, was rejected.

Further, the NCLT was directed to decide on the aspect of sale of spectrum under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.


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