Mumbai, Feb 18
Even as an imbroglio over payment of pending AGR dues worth Rs 1.47,686 crore, by 15 entities, including three major telecom companies continued, Bharti Airtel on Monday said it has paid Rs 10,000 crore to the telecom department towards statutory dues.
“The amount of Rs 10,000 crore has been paid on behalf of Bharti Airtel, Bharti Hexacom, and Telenor,” the Sunil Mittal-led company said in a statement. As much as Rs 9,500 crore has been paid on behalf of Bharti Airtel (including Telenor India which merged with the company), and another Rs 500 crore for Bharti Hexacom. As per the government’s assessment, Airtel owes nearly Rs 35,586 crore in statutory dues, including licence fee and spectrum usage charge.
On Monday, the company rushed to make part payments and said, “we are in the process of completing the self assessment exercise expeditiously and will duly make the balance payment upon completion of the same, before the next date of hearing in the Supreme Court. The company said it will also submit supporting details at the time of making balance payment.
In another development Vodafone Idea Limited in a letter to PM and telecom minister of India, stated that it has no plans to leave India and that Vodafone was engaged in talks with the government. Vodafone Group’s CEO Nick Read reaffirmed that the company would stay in India and apologised to Indian government saying that his earlier remarks were misquoted by media. Earlier he had said that Vodafone’s India venture is in a perilous state and could see a shutdown. Vodafone Idea Ltd is confronted with the dues worth Rs 53,000 crore – its liabilities add up to Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and another Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice M R Shah of Supreme Court, last week directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the DoT.
In all, 15 entities owe the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore — Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.