Vodafone Idea will have to close operations in India if it pays all its pending dues to the government overnight, according to Mukul Rohatgi, the senior counsel for Vodafone Idea.
The telecom operator which on Monday paid Rs 2,500 crore as part of its AGR dues appealed the Supreme Court (SC) that the department of telecommunication (DoT) should not take any forcible action and call forth any bank guarantees as it would further hinder its operations.
If the telecom operator shuts shop in India, the move would render 10,000 people jobless and trouble 30 crore subscribers, Rohatgi told NDTV.
He also said that it would impact the whole telecom sector, eventually wiping out competition and leaving just two firms in the market. Rohatgi further said Vodafone Idea owe the government Rs 7,000 crore, and after adding the interest, penalty and interest on penalty the total amount would be between Rs 23,000 to Rs 25,000 crore.
He added "the government should not rock the boat by encashing the bank guarantees, or the company should close tomorrow (Tuesday)".
The SC's direction to the telecom companies to pay up all their unpaid dues to the government has hastened the crisis for the loss-making firms.
"The companies have been telling the Department of Telecommunication that there is no way they can pay these dues overnight. And the government should also wake up to the situation, otherwise, this sector which is very, very stressed, will have only two operators, which is like semi-monopoly, which is what we call oligopoly," he said.
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel and Tata Group also made part payment of their dues Rs 10,000 crore and around Rs 2,197 crore, respectively, on Monday. While Bharti Airtel has to pay nearly Rs 25,586 crore more to the government, Tata Teleservices still owes Rs 13,800 crore to the government. The Supreme Court (SC) has set the deadline for all the payments on March 17.