SC dismisses telcos' pleas seeking review of its AGR verdict (Lead)
Thursday - January 16, 2020 6:34 pm , Category : BUSINESS
New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) In a big blow to the telecom companies, the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the review petitions challenging its verdict in the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) case.A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices S.A. Nazeer and M.R. Shah found no merit in the review petitions and dismissed it.Responding to the top court's dismissal of the crucial petition, Airtel expressed disappointment and said that it was evaluating filing a curative petition. The final deadline for the telecom companies to pay Rs 1.47 lakh crore is on January 23.The Telecom Ministry in November told Parliament that telcos owe nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC). The total amount is split in two halves -- license fee comes to Rs 92,642 crore as of July 2019 and SUC comes to Rs 55,054 crore as of October 2019.Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea hold the majority of these liabilities, which emerge from these dues. For Bharti Airtel, dues are around Rs 35,586 crore -- Rs 21,682 crore as LF and Rs 13,904 crore as SUC and for Vodafone Idea the dues amount to Rs 53,038 crore, of which Rs 28,309 crore in LF and Rs 24,730 crore in SUC.The Supreme Court had ordered telecom carriers, including telco majors Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd., to pay the government as much as Rs 92,000 crore ($13 billion) in past dues, which includes penalties and interest.A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said telcos will have to shell out the dues. The Department of Telecom (DoT) total demand is estimated around Rs 92,000 crore. "We allow the appeals of the DoT.... The gross revenue will prevail as defined as gross revenue," said the court citing no further exercise should take place in connection with the re-calculations regarding the dues. The top court specified that there should not be any further litigation on the matter. It also passed a separate order on the specific time frame for the telcos to pay their dues.