AGR case: Some payments to DoT not factored in, says Vodafone Idea

The DoT in March this year moved a plea, seeking permission for allowing a staggered payment of the dues by telcos over 20 years.
Vodafone Idea has, in its petition, brought to the notice of the Supreme Court some matters of dispute as regards its payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

It has said the payments it has made have not been accounted for by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Also there has been double counting of some revenue items in the AGR demand and deduction has not been made by the department on account of roaming charges paid by the operator.

This comes days after Bharti Airtel petitioned the court on reconsidering the DoT’s calculation of AGR dues.

Vodafone Idea, in its plea, has pointed out certain anomalies in the DoT’s counting of the AGR dues, leading to excess demand of Rs 5,932 crore.

Vodafone Idea estimates its dues to be Rs 21,533 crore, as against the DoT’s calculation of Rs 58,254 crore. According to the DoT’s notice, Vodafone Idea’s dues stand at about Rs 50,400 crore, which has to be paid in 10 equal instalments by March 31, 2031. The company has so far paid Rs 7,854 crore.

Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel moved the Supreme Court over errors in the DoT’s calculation of AGR-related dues. According to the DoT’s calculation, Airtel has to pay Rs 43,980 crore, including principal, interest, penalty, and interest on penalty. However, the telco, according to its self-assessment, owes the government Rs 13,004 crore. Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore to the DoT. These developments come at a time when the deadline for paying first instalment of AGR dues is March 31. In September, the court allowed firms to pay 10 per cent of the AGR dues by March 31, following which they can make payments in annual instalments between 2021 and 2031.

Telecom companies will also have to make payments on or before February 7 every year. In October 2019, the court gave a verdict on the AGR issue, primarily its definition for calculating government dues of telcos such as licence fee and spectrum usage charges.

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

The Bench reserved the verdict on July 20 on staggered payments, saying that it would not hear “even for a second” the arguments on reassessing or re-calculating AGR-related dues.




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