Telecom major Airtel has moved the Supreme Court against “arithmetical errors'' in the Department of Telecommunications's calculations of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. Reportedly, Airtel approached the court after eliciting no response from the DoT despite pointing it out.
Soon, Vodafone Idea (Vi) may follow suit in the coming days, various media reports indicated.
According to DoT calculations, Airtel owes the government almost Rs 26,000 crore and Vi has about Rs 50,400 crore in AGR dues to be paid in 10 equal instalments through March 31, 2031. Total AGR demand, as per DoT’s calculations, is about Rs 44,000 crore for Airtel and Rs 58,400 crore for Vi. Airtel has so far paid over Rs 18,004 crore of its dues and Vi has paid Rs 7,854 crore.
This is not the first time both Airtel and Vi have flagged calculation anomalies, including computational and accounting differences and duplication in demand items that DoT submitted. Airtel and Vi had submitted their self-assessed dues of Rs 13,004 crore and Rs 21,533 crore, respectively, which the court scrapped.
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In September, the apex court allowed telecom operators 10 years to pay up AGR dues. The development came as a relief for Vodafone Idea, for which survival would have been a concern had the apex court not agreed to a staggered payment schedule. A three-judge apex court bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, had directed telcos to make 10 per cent upfront payment of their AGR dues, with the 10-year payment schedule to begin on 1 April, 2021, and the annual instalments to be paid by February 7 every year.