“Despite clear directions from this …court these TSPs are trying to start another round of litigation in gross contempt of this…court. In this manner they feel that the orders of the Supreme Court can be taken for a ride and multiple rounds of litigation can be started to avoid payments by misusing judicial process,” said the petition requesting intervention in Vi’s appeal and the latter’s dismissal.
Vi has appealed to the top court to allow the government to consider the telco’s submissions on the calculation errors and rectify them accordingly. Vi has to pay Rs 58,400 crore in AGR dues, of which it has paid Rs 7,854 crore. The telco had self-assessed its dues at Rs 21,533 crore, which the top court had earlier rejected.
The non governmental organisation alleges that the telco had sufficient time to highlight these “errors” to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and its latest appeals are “frivolous attempts to overturn the orders of this… court “.
It said that DoT “carefully examines” the correctness of the AGR statements, deductions and telcos at every stage of assessment have the opportunity to represent themselves . “… Vodafone Idea, had enough opportunities before them to make their representation, which have already been considered by the DoT…These applicants had been given sufficient opportunity to rectify any arithmetical error,” it added.
Vi had highlighted various errors which included the department not accounting Vi’s earlier payments, double counting of revenue items, deductions not given of access and roaming charges that were made by Vi to the other telcos.
Vi is not the only telco to point out DoT’s errors . Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices (TTSL) have done the same.
Airtel has sought for a modification, clarification or recall of “mistaken orders” that allowed the government to demand Rs 43,980 crore as AGR dues against the telco’s calculation of Rs 13,004 crore. TTSL , which has AGR dues of Rs 16,798 crore and has paid Rs 4,197 crore has moved SC on similar grounds.
The Foundation also added that DoT had in the past “acted in the most non-transparent manner ” and supported the TSPs, especially Airtel and Vi who were required to pay a huge amount to the Government of India as AGR.
“It is submitted that when a State Entity/Department connives with private companies to deprive the Government of India revenue payable to it, public confidence is shaken and hence the Applicant herein in public interest is constrained to prefer the present application for intervention with a prayer to be permitted to make submissions during the hearing, so as to oppose a such connivance which otherwise can cause huge loss of public money which will be detrimental and violation of the citizens fundamental rights under the Constitution,” it added.