The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued directions that in respect of AGR dues, there shall be no reassessment, nor the telecom operators be allowed to raise any disputes.
The DoT issued the directions through an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court following an earlier order of the apex court.
The telecom operators will make a payment of 10 per cent of total dues by March 31, 2021. The operators have to make the payment in annual instalments from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031 payable by March 31 of every succeeding financial year.
As per DoT directions, various companies through their Managing Director/Chairman or other authorised officers will furnish an undertaking within four weeks to make payment of arrears as per the order.
The existing bank guarantees that have been submitted regarding the spectrum will be kept alive by the operators until the payment is made.
In the event of any default in making payment of the annual instalments, interest would become payable as per the agreement along with penalty and interest without reference to the court. Besides, it would be punishable for contempt of court.
The compliance of the order has to be reported by the telecom service providers (TSPs) and the DoT by the April 7 of each succeeding year.
As per the affidavit, DoT had raised a demand with Bharti Airtel to pay the AGR dues of Videocon Telecommunications Limited (VTL). VTL had traded its entire spectrum to Bharti Airtel in 2016.
Bharti Airtel has responded via letters that “DoT has no basis in law” and “Bharti Airtel cannot be held liable for VTL’s past dues”.