After dismissal of the review petition filed by telecom companies by the Supreme Court, Bharti Airtel today (January 16, 2020) has released a media statement saying –
“While respecting the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s decision, we would like to express our disappointment as we believe the long standing disputes raised regarding the AGR definition were bonafide and genuine.
The industry continues to face severe financial stress and the outcome could further erode the viability of the sector as a whole. The industry needs to continue to invest in expanding networks, acquiring spectrum and introducing New Technologies like 5G. The money now required to pay punitive interest, penalty and interest on penalty which forms nearly 75% of AGR dues would have better served the digital mission of the country.
We are evaluating filing a curative petition.”
A full bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. A. Nazeer and Justice M.R. Shah heard the review petition filed by Airtel, Vodafone-Idea against AGR verdict on INR 92,000 crores, past dues in closed chambers earlier today. The matter pertains to the Department of Telecommunication or DoT’s claim that the companies had underreported their revenues, as a result paying less tax to the government.
The petition was filed with Supreme Court to review its order dated 24 October, 2019 which mandated the telecom companies to pay the hefty sum of INR 92,000 crores in dues and interest to the DoT.
The case has been ongoing for 14 years now. Tata Teleservices and Hughes Communication India have also filed a review petition. There is an ongoing merger between Tata Teleservices and Bharti Airtel, which is opposed by Department of Telecommunication (DoT).