Telcos including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Tele may tell the Department of Telecom (DoT) that they will miss the January-23 deadline to pay the AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) charges worth Rs 93,000 crore due to the upcoming Supreme Court hearing. The operators had filed a 'modification' plea scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court next week.
All companies concerned are expected to issue letters to the DoT in this regard.
The apex court on Tuesday said it would take up the 'modification petition' filed by telcos. Of the total AGR dues worth Rs 93,000 crore, Airtel has to pay Rs 21,682 crore while Vodafone Idea's dues stand at Rs 28,308 crore.
The government is also unlikely to take any action against telecom companies till the plea is heard. Meanwhile, Business Standard quoted a senior official as saying the DoT would start issuing notices to the telcos as the deadline to pending AGR dues ends on January 23.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio, which is not a party to the case, is likely to pay its entire dues of Rs 177 crore as it had provisioned AGR liabilities in its December quarter financial results released recently.
In its last order on October 24 last year, the Supreme Court asked telcos to pay up the AGR dues worth over Rs 93,000 crore within 90 days. The AGR dispute dates back to 2003 when the association of telecom operators filed the first plea with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the definition of AGR. As per standard accounting practice, companies have to make provisions for such claims.
Nearly two months after filing the review petition in the Supreme Court, the telcos were recently denied relief from the court on their AGR dues. In a massive blow to the telecom industry, the court on Thursday dismissed review petitions by the telecom companies. As a result, the companies have to pay pending AGR dues of nearly Rs 93,000 crore to the Department of Telecommunications by January 23.
Edited by Manoj Sharma