AGR case: SC hearing begins on recovery of dues from telcos under insolvency
BusinessToday.In August 14, 2020
The Supreme Court on Friday resumed its hearing in the matter related to recovery of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues from telcos (R Comm, Aircel and Videocon) under insolvency. The hearing began at 3 pm today. The apex court may also give clarity on staggered payment schedule in its hearing today.
Earlier this Monday, the Supreme Court had asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to apprise it about how it plans to recover AGR related dues from telecom companies facing insolvency proceedings and whether spectrum given to these companies can be sold. The top court had told the government to come prepared with a recovery plan of dues for the telecom firms under insolvency.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah had asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the DoT, to apprise the bench on what will happen to the DoT's AGR related dues if these companies go into insolvency. "Tell us how you will recover Rs 31,000 from RCOM and Rs 12,000 crore from Aircel. You have to do something. This is public money," the bench told Mehta.
On July 20, the SC had reserved its order on permitting telecom companies to make staggered payments of AGR dues over 15 years. The three-judge bench had last month said that there would be no reassessment of the AGR dues calculated by the DoT. The Supreme Court had then said there is "no going back" on DoT's demand on the AGR issues and it will only consider the timeline.
The apex court had in October 2019 delivered the verdict on the AGR issue for calculating government dues of telecom companies such as licence fee and spectrum usage charges.The apex court had upheld the government's broader definition of AGR.
After the top court had rejected pleas by Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices seeking review of the judgement which widened the definition of AGR by including non-telecom revenues. The DoT earlier in March had moved a plea seeking staggered payment over 20 years.