After Airtel and Voda, Tata Tele moves SC seeking AGR dues recalculation

Tata Teleservices has AGR dues of Rs 16,798 crore and has paid Rs 4,197 crore so far.
Tata Teleservices on Monday filed a petition with the Supreme Court stating that there were “mathematical errors” in the calculations of the Department of Telecommunications as far as the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues were concerned.

This development comes close on the heels of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea petitioning the apex court over the same issues.

Tata Teleservices has AGR dues of Rs 16,798 crore and has paid Rs 4,197 crore so far.

Vodafone Idea estimates its dues to be at Rs 21,533 crore, as against DoT’s calculation of Rs 58,254 crore.

According to DoT’s notice, VIL’s dues stand at about Rs 50,400 crore, which has to be paid in 10 equal instalments through March 31, 2031. The company has so far paid Rs 7,854 crore.

Airtel owes a total of Rs 43,980 crore, including principal, interest, penalty, and interest on penalty, as per DoT’s calculation. However, the telco as per its self-assessment owes the government Rs 13,004 crore. Airtel has already paid Rs 18,004 crore to the DoT.

These developments come at a time when the deadline for payment of the first installment of AGR dues is nearing – March 31, 2021.

In September, SC allowed companies to pay 10 per cent of the total AGR dues by March 31, 2021, following which they can make payments in annual instalments between 2021 and 2031. Telecom companies would also have to make payments on or before February 7 every year.

In October 2019, SC delivered a verdict on the AGR issue, primarily its definition for calculating government dues of telecom companies, such as licence fee and spectrum usage charges.

The DoT in March last year moved a plea seeking permission for allowing staggered payment of the dues by telcos over a period of 20 years.

The bench reserved the verdict on July 20 on staggered payments, saying that it will not hear "even for a second" the arguments on reassessment or re-calculation of the AGR-related dues.

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