AGR Case: Supreme Court Summons Telecom Bosses Over Non-Payment of Dues
File image of Supreme Court (Photo Credits: IANS)

New Delhi, February 14: Supreme Court on Friday, February 14, criticised telecom operators for non-compliance of its order asking them to pay dues worth thousands of crores to the government. The apex court summoned their bosses to explain why the pay up order was not followed. A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, MR Shah, and S Abdul Nazeer also lambasted at the government for not doing enough to collect dues. Vodafone-Idea, Airtel Delay AGR Payment, Write to DoT to 'Wait for Supreme Court's Decision'.

"If you want us to use harsh words we don't want to use. This petition shouldn't have been filed. Nonsense has been created. No law is left in the country? I am anguished. I feel I should not work in this court," Justice Arun Mishra said on the petition filed by Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, and Vodafone Idea. Supreme Court Dismisses Plea of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Seeking Review of Verdict on Recovery of Past Dues of Rs 1.47 Lakh Crore.

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On January 16, Supreme Court had dismissed the review petition filed by telecom companies seeking modification of its earlier order in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter, saying that the court did not find any “justifiable reason” to entertain them.

The court summoned managing director (MD), director of all telcos on March 17  and asked them to explain why dues were not paid and why contempt action should not be taken against them.

As per reports, fifteen telecom companies need to pay over Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the government, comprising of spectrum usage charge, license fees, interests and penalties. After the top court's decision, shares of Vodafone-Idea plunged more than 13 percent. Shares of other telecoms also tanked after the court declined to defer hearing despite a request by the Solicitor General.

In an affidavit filed in Supreme Court, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said informed that Bharti Airtel owes Rs 21,682.13 crore as a licence fee and dues from Vodafone calculated Rs 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications owed Rs 16,456.47 crore. MTNL owed Rs 2,537.48 crore and BSNL Rs 2,098.72 crore .