Home >Industry >Telecom >SC refuses Vodafone Idea more time to pay off AGR dues

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a plea by cash-strapped Vodafone Idea seeking more time to pay off adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues even as the telecom major assured to deposit 2,500 crore today and another 1,000 crore by Friday.

The top court also refused to hear Vodafone’s plea seeking direction to the government to not encash the company's bank guarantees.

On 14 February, the Supreme Court had directed telcos to pay more than 1 trillion in AGR dues by 17 March. The worst hit is Vodafone Idea, given that it only had 12,530 crore of cash and equivalent reserves as of December 2019, while bearing a gross debt of 1.2 trillion.

The apex court on Friday had pulled up telcos and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for failing to comply with its October order to pay up the dues by 23 January.

As per DoT calculations, Bharti Airtel has to pay 35,586 crore to the government and Vodafone Idea owes 50,000 crore.

Bharti Airtel today paid 10,000 crore to DoT as part payment of its AGR dues.

In an exchange filing on Saturday, Vodafone Idea said it was in the process of assessing the dues it would be able to pay the government, adding that it would pay this in the next few days.

After a 14-year-long legal battle, in October the apex court upheld the government’s broader definition of revenue on which it calculates levies on telecom operators. Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices Ltd last month filed modification pleas seeking more time to pay AGR-related dues, which the apex court has agreed to hear but not set a date.

The government had then decided not to take coercive action against mobile service providers that failed to meet the court-directed deadline to pay dues.

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