Will decide after hearing from DoT on Telcos’ AGR dues: FM
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the Centre would wait to hear from the department of telecommunications (DoT) before reacting on the ongoing crisis in the sector. The statement comes hours after the Supreme Court rejected telecom firm Vodafone Idea’s proposal to pay Rs 2,500 crore by the end of the day and Rs 1,000 crore by Friday towards Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues.
Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Sitharaman said: “In light of court’s orders, the department is engaging with telecom companies after the reviews and I will wait to hear from the department to take a position.”
Earlier in the day, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra declined to accept the proposal given by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Vodafone Idea, after he mentioned the matter.
Rohatgi said his client was willing to pay Rs 2,500 crore today (Monday) and another Rs 1,000 crore by Friday, but no coercive action should be taken against the company. He urged that the bank guarantee deposited with the government by Vodafone should not be encashed.
With the government coming down heavily on telcos after the Supreme Court’s rap, Bharti Airtel on Monday made payment of Rs 10,000 crore to the DoT towards statutory dues. The company said it would make a payment on balance amount after a self-assessment exercise. “The… amount of Rs 10,000 crore has been paid on behalf of Bharti Airtel, Bharti Hexacom, and Telenor,” the Sunil Mittal-led company said in its letter to the DoT.