” The Company has yesterday (i.e. 17 July 2020) paid a further sum of Rs. 1,000 crore to the DoT towards the AGR dues. The Company had earlier deposited Rs. 6,854 crores in 3 tranches. The Company has thus paid an aggregate amount of 7,854 crores towards the AGR dues,” said the telco in a regulatory filing on Saturday.
After the latest payment for adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, VIL has to pay around Rs 51,400 crore of dues to the government. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on Monday, July 20.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been pushing mobile phone operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to make some upfront payment towards their balance AGR dues, before being allowed to stagger the rest over several years, senior officials said.
Both telcos, specially VIL, had told the government and the courts that they had paid whatever they could as upfront payment.
Airtel has paid Rs 18,000 crore so far and has a balance amount of Rs 25,980 crore to be paid to DoT .
The two operators have asked that they be allowed to stagger the balance payment over a maximum of 20 years, backing a government proposal. This proposal if accepted by the court is their last window of hope for some extra time to pay up their dues.
The dispute over statutory dues has been ongoing between telcos and the government for nearly 16 years. It culminated in an October 2019 Supreme Court order backing DoT and widening the definition of AGR to include non-core items.
This left some 16 telcos – most of them either defunct or having exited India or merged with others – facing Rs 1.7 lakh crore by way of dues comprising of license fees, spectrum usage charge, interest and penalties to the government. Airtel and Vodafone Idea – being among the oldest operators – were the worst hit.