- No relief to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea from Supreme Court of India
- The 2 telecom giants sought recomputation of AGR dues
On Friday, pronouncing its judgement on the pleas sought by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea on the direction for the correction of errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation, the Supreme Court of India (SC) dismissed the applications of the two telecom giants for the recomputation of AGR dues which have been demanded by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).
After the verdict was announced, which came as a major setback for the 2 telecom companies, the shares of Vodafone Idea took a dive by almost 10% to ₹ 8 per share while Bharti Airtel saw itself trading 1% lower at ₹ 539 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
The verdict from the Supreme Court bench which was headed by Justices LN Rao was supposed to be pronounced on Thursday, however, was cancelled at the last hour.
In September 2020, the top court had ordered the telecom companies to pay their dues. It had granted 10 years to Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices for paying the dues to the DoT with certain conditions.
The SC had asked the telcos to pay 10% of their dues by March 31, 2021.
A bench which was headed by Justice Arun Mishra had held that the demand made by the Department of Telecommunications and the verdict which has been delivered by the top court were final.
The bench had asked the Managing Directors (MDs) or the Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of the telcos concerned to furnish undertaking or a personal guarantee for payment of dues.
In January this year, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd moved to the Supreme Court seeking directions to the DoT to recalculate the AGR dues citing “mathematical errors” in the calculation of the outstanding amount by the department.
The apex court, which had held that demand raised by the DoT in respect of AGR dues will be final, had said there shall be no dispute raised by the telcos and that there shall not be any re-assessment.
The apex court had in October 2019 delivered its verdict on the AGR issue.
The DoT, in March last year, had moved a plea in the top court seeking permission for allowing staggered payment of the dues by telcos over a period of 20 years.