This comes on the back of Tuesday’s AGR judgement wherein the Supreme Court gave a 10-year window for telcos to pay their balance AGR dues of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore, beginning with an upfront 10% of total dues by March 31, 2021, and the rest in 10 annual instalments ending March, 2031.
“That, at the first instance, the respective Telecom Operators shall make the payment of 10% of the total dues as demanded by DoT by 31.3.2021. (iii) TSPs have to make payment in yearly instalments commencing from 1.4.2021 up to 31.3.2031 payable by 31st March of every succeeding financial year,” the three-judge bench of the court ruled.
Now Vodafone Idea, the one that has been hit the most, has already paid nearly Rs 8,000 crore of its dues of Rs 58,254 crore while Bharti Airtel has submitted over Rs 18,000 crore against dues of Rs 43,980 crore, to the telecom department.
“As per our understanding, all three have already paid in excess of the 10% upfront payment of total dues as required by the SC order…so in effect, their next payment falls due only by March 2022,” said a senior executive at one of the affected telcos.
Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have already paid 13.7% and 40% respectively of their total dues. Tata Teleservices, which had dues of Rs 16,798 crore, has paid Rs 4197 crore so far – about 25% of the AGR dues demanded by Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Emails to the three telcos didn’t elicit a response.
The Supreme Court bench said that the AGR dues cannot be disputed by the telcos again and any default would attract interest, penalty and interest on penalty besides attracting contempt of court proceedings as well.