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Airtel, Vodafone Idea file modification plea in SC seeking time to pay AGR dues

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Telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea today jointly filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking modification of its earlier order in the AGR matter.

The SC had last week dismissed the pleas of the companies seeking review of its earlier judgment, which had asked telecom companies to pay about Rs 1.4 trillion in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues before January 23.

The telecos requested extension of the deadline to pay the dues and negotiate payment schedule with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea owe about Rs 35,586 crore and Rs 50,000 crore to the government respectively. The SC’s last week’s decision to not review its earlier order was a huge setback for the telecom operators, which are reeling under serious financial crunch.

Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had said last month that “it will be end of story for Vodafone Idea”, if they don’t get any relief from the government.

Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are requried to pay a percentage of AGR with the government as licensee fee. Ending a two decade long dispute, in September 2019, the apex court had held that revenue from non-core telecom operations also comes under AGR, and hence a percentage of revenue from such operations has to be shared with the government.

Airtel had said last week that it might file a curative petition against the judgment in the SC.

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