Airtel moves Supreme Court on AGR fees, seeks lower dues

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Bharti Airtel has moved the Supreme Court of India seeking lowering of dues payable as per aggregated gross revenue (AGR) fees. The telco has cited “miscomputation of dues,” a reason for requesting the adjustment of dues, CNBC-TV reported.

As per the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Airtel has dues worth Rs 43,989 crore. The company has already paid Rs 18,004 crore and the balance payment is pegged at Rs 25,985 crore.

Airtel is likely to cite that the DoT miscomputed the total dues payable. It is also expected to argue that the Rs 43,989 crore demand includes license fee dues and spectrum usage charges – but the issue before the SC was limited to license fee and not spectrum charge, hence its inclusion in the total is erroneous.

The Supreme Court on September 1, 2020 gave telecom companies 10 years to repay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, putting an end to a case that was being watched closely for its implications for the telecommunications sector.

While giving the 10-year timeframe, from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah directed telcos to pay 10 percent of the AGR dues upfront.

A default would invite interest, penalty, along with contempt of court. The court also said no revaluation of AGR dues would be allowed.

The court had in October 2019 upheld the expanded definition of AGR as given by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which demanded more than over Rs 1 lakh crore from service providers.

News Source:- Moneycontrol

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