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AGR: Vodafone Idea pays Rs 3,354 cr, says principal amount paid (Ld)

New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Vodafone Idea has said that it has cleared the principal amount towards AGR dues as it paid Rs 3,354 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday.

The payment comes a day ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the issue of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). In a regulatory filing, the telecom operator had earlier paid a sum of Rs 2,500 crore on February 17, 2020 and a further sum of Rs 1,000 crore on February 20 towards the AGR liability.

“The company has today paid a further amount of Rs 3,354 crore to the DoT, being the balance part of the principal amount towards AGR liability. Thus the company has paid the full principal amount of Rs 6,854 crore towards the AGR dues,” it said.

According to Vodafone Idea’s own assessment, its AGR dues stand at Rs 21,533 crore and the principal amount out of the total dues is Rs 6,854 crore.

However, according to the DoT’s estimate, the company’s overall dues stand at Rs 53,000 crore. The other major player Bharti Airtel has already said that it has paid its full adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of about Rs 13,000 crore.

After meeting Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash here on March 11, Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said as the government directed the company has paid the full amount.

He said that the full AGR dues is about Rs 13,000 crore, and Rs 5,000 crore is extra, adding that the company has also submitted its self-assessment document.

In another major development which could provide relief to the telecom operators, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has moved the Supreme Court seeking an approval for a 20-year window for payment of AGR dues.

DoT has said that the interest on the principal and penalty not be charged beyond judgment date, while dues payable to the government be protected by levy of 8 per cent interest on staggered payments.

The department is also seeking the apex court’s nod for a formula arrived at for recovery of dues from telecom companies after detailed deliberation by government and cabinet.

However, analysts are of the view that the scheme with 8 per cent interest might not be viable for Vodafone Idea which is financially much more stressed than the other players.

–IANS

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