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AGR dues: Airtel moves SC; cites 'arithmetical errors' by DoT

Telco demands its AGR dues payable to government should be reduced, saying DoT has mis-computed by including spectrum usage charges into total dues; says issue before SC on account of AGR dues was limited to licence fee only and not SUC

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | January 6, 2021 | Updated 15:28 IST
AGR dues: Airtel moves SC; cites 'arithmetical errors' by DoT
Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal

Bharti Airtel has moved the Supreme Court against "arithmetical errors" made by the Department of Telecommunication in calculating AGR (adjusted gross revenues), indicating another round of legal battle between telcos and the DoT.

The telco has demanded that its AGR dues payable to the government should be reduced, saying the DoT has miscomputed by including spectrum usage charges (SUC) into total dues of Rs 43,959 crore. The telco says the issue before the SC on account of AGR dues was limited to licence fee only and not the SUC.

"Airtel has moved the Supreme Court and Vi is expected to file a petition as well, highlighting calculation errors in AGR dues," The Economic Times citing a person aware of the development.

Also read: SC allows telcos 10 years for payment of AGR dues

Notably, the DoT has sought Rs 44,000 crore from the telco in AGR dues. Airtel has already paid Rs 18,004 crore and its estimate says it owes Rs 26,000 crore to the government. It is yet to pay Rs 25,976 crore. Vodafone Idea has paid just Rs 7,854 crore to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) out of the total AGR liabilities of Rs 58,254 crore.

The issue of alleged "miscomputation" was also reported during the previous SC hearings. Both Airtel and Vi (then Vodafone Idea) had submitted their self-assessments on the payable AGR dues after the SC's 2019 order, which widened the AGR definition to include non-core revenues.

After many hearings in September 2020, the SC ruled that telcos will have to shell out 10 per cent of the pending AGR dues by March 31, 2021. The remaining amount can be paid via equal yearly instalments till March 31, 2031.

Also Read: Supreme Court puts onus of AGR dues of ailing telcos on spectrum users

Also Read: AGR case: Supreme Court fears telco dues will be wiped out in IBC process

Also Read: AGR case: Why shouldn't Jio pay RCom dues, SC asks

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