Sumary of Airtel refused to pay Videocon AGR dues: DoT:
- The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has told India apex court that telecom major Bharti Airtel has refused to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues of defunct telco Videocon Telecommunications (VTL), whose spectrum was acquired by the Sunil Mittal-led carrier in 2016..
- In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, DoT said that in line with its order of September 1, 2020 on AGR dues, it had raised a demand to recover Rs 1,376 crore worth of Videocon dues from Airtel, which the latter has declined to pay..
- and that Airtel cannot be held responsible for Videocon past dues given that the buyer of spectrum is not responsible for dues which were ‘known’ at the time of trade..
- As per the DoT affidavit, Airtel added that contrary to its current stance, DoT had never raised such demand from Airtel in the past and maintained its position that these dues were solely recoverable from Videocon..
- “…given the clear and categorical findings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the trading guidelines issued by DoT and DoT own understanding, along with the fact that such demand was never raised on Airtel, is ample testimony to the fact that Airtel is not liable for any outstanding dues of Videocon pertaining to the outstanding AGR dues..
- Videocon had sold rights to use spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in six circles to Airtel in 2016 for Rs 4,428 crore..
- For operational telcos, SC directed that they must pay 10% of the total AGR dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021 and the remainder in equal instalments every financial year up to March 31, 2031..
- However, DoT interpretation is that the court meant 10% of the remaining AGR dues when it asked the operators to pay that much by end of FY21 as it was aware of the payments they already made..
- DoT though didn’t seek clarity on the different interpretations of the government and the telcos over the timelines of the first instalment in Wednesday affidavit….