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Home >Industry >Telecom >After Airtel, Voda Idea moves SC over AGR calculations

Vodafone Idea Ltd (Vi) on Thursday sought a direction from the Supreme Court asking the department of telecommunications (DoT) to recalculate adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to be paid by the telecom operator, said a person aware of the matter, requesting anonymity.

This comes a day after rival Bharti Airtel Ltd filed a petition before the top court citing “mathematical errors" on the part of DoT. Tata Teleservices Ltd is expected to approach the apex court on Friday with similar claims.

The petitions could prolong the 14-year legal battle between DoT and mobile operators after the apex court passed a judgment in favour of the government in October 2019.

Vi, in its plea, cited errors in calculations such as duplications and inclusion or exclusion of revenue heads, including spectrum usage charge and licence fee, and certain payments that have not been factored in. It also urged the apex court to modify its September 2020 order that approved DoT’s AGR demand, the person mentioned above said.

According to DoT, Vi owes 58,254 crore in AGR dues, including principal, interest, penalty, and interest on penalty. However, according to Vi, it owes the government 21,533 crore. Vi has so far paid 7,854 crore. DoT has demanded 43,980 crore from Airtel, which is more than three times the self-assessed amount of 13,004 crore. Airtel has so far paid 18,004 crore to the DoT.

“The court is yet to list the matter," the person said.

A Vi representative could not comment immediately when contacted over telephone.

The telcos are only pointing out “arithmetical errors" in DoT’s calculations through the pleas and are yet to take a call on whether to file curative petitions against the Supreme Court’s September order, the person quoted above said. In September, the apex court had allowed telecom operators to pay their respective AGR dues over a 10-year period. The order had come as a relief to Vi, as it fights to stay in business in India. A three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, had directed telcos to make 10% upfront payment of their AGR dues, with a 10-year payment schedule, beginning 1 April 2021. It said the annual instalments have to be paid by 7 February every year.

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