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Vodafone Idea, Airtel approach Supreme Court over error in calculation of AGR dues

Airtel and Vi have moved the apex court over DoT's alleged arithmetical error in the AGR dues calculation.

Vodafone Idea (Vi) has approached the Supreme court, seeking a modification in the verdict it gave last year regarding the repayment of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues within a span of 10 years. Bharti Airtel made a similar request to the apex Court on Wednesday.

As per Vi, Department of Telecommunications’s assessment of the AGR dues has some arithmetical errors because of which the telco has to pay a lot more than what it owes. Per Vi, the telco which owes the highest bill amongst the lot, estimates its dues to be at Rs 21,533 crore, which is much lower than the DoT’s calculation of ₹58,254 crore.

“Vi is seeking a modification, pointing out that the arithmetical errors in DoT’s AGR calculations need to be looked into,” one source close to the development told the Economic Times.

According to DoT’s notice, VI’s dues stand at about Rs 50,400 crore, which has to be paid in 10 equal instalments till March 31, 2031. The company, which now provides services under Vi brand, has so far paid Rs 7,854 crore.

According to the company, first, ‘the department didn’t account/adjust for payments already made by the company while issuing the demand for dues’. Secondly, ‘Some instances of double-counting of revenue occurred while calculating the AGR demand and lastly’, ‘the department didn’t grant certain deductions related to call and roaming charges’.

In Airtel’s case, per DoT, the total amount Airtel owes stands at Rs 43,989 crore including principal, interest, penalty and interest on penalty, and licence fee dues and spectrum usage charges. However, Airtel, which has already paid Rs 18,004 crore, states the dues at Rs 13,004 crore. As per DoT, the balance is pegged at Rs 25,985 crores.

To recall, The Supreme Court, in an order dated October 24, 2019, ordered Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom players to pay the AGR dues by January 23, 2020. The telecom operators had to pay over 1.47 lakh crore to the government.

This included ₹92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and ₹55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges, penalty and interest. Later in September 2020, the apex court gave 10 years to telecom companies to clear pending AGR dues as telcos seeked time to pay back the pending dues.

 

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