Telecom company Bharti Airtel on Saturday said it has finished calculating its dues related to the adjusted gross revenue to the Department of Telecommunications, and claimed that it had paid off the amount it owed the government. Several telecom companies have been making payments after the Supreme Court on February 14 rapped them for not clearing dues to the Centre. The collective debt of the companies has been estimated by the government at Rs 1.47 lakh crore.
The central government has evaluated that Bharti Airtel’s dues are over Rs 35,000 crore. However, in a BSE filing the company said that it had estimated the due amount to be Rs 13,004 crore. “Accordingly the company paid an additional amount of Rs 3,004 crore towards the full and final amounts due over and above ad-hoc amount of Rs 10,000 crore paid on February 17, 2020 on behalf of Bharti Group of companies,” the statement read. The self-assessment of the dues was done for the period from 2006-2007 to February this year.
Apart from Rs 13,004 crore, the company said on Saturday that it had also paid Rs 5,000 crores “as an ad-hoc payment (subject to subsequent refund/adjustment) to cover differences, if any, arising from the reconciliation exercise with the DoT”.
The company said it had followed the Supreme Court’s verdict from October last year. The top court had instructed companies to pay off 14 years’ worth dues related to adjusted gross revenue. “Based on the aforesaid payment, we have now complied with AGR Judgment and the directions in the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated October 24 , 2019,” the statement read.
Earlier this week, the Department of Telecommunications had asked all operators to swiftly complete their self-assessment of AGR-related dues, and submit documents supporting the calculations, according to Mint.
On February 20, Bharti Airtel chairperson Sunil Mittal said the payment dues related to AGR were an “unprecedented crisis” for the telecom industry. Mittal had added that his company was committed to complying with the Supreme Court order on payments of the dues, and would make the payment expeditiously.
During Supreme Court’s hearing on February 14, it had asked the managing directors and directors of the companies why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for failing to pay even a “single penny” to the government despite an October 2019 court judgement.
On February 17, Airtel paid Rs 10,000 crore, including licence fee and spectrum usage charges. Vodafone Idea, the one hit the most by the judgment, on February 15 paid Rs 1,000 crore more after paying Rs 2,500 crore to the government. In total, the telecom company owes Rs 53,000 crore. Tata Teleservices Limited owes Rs 14,000 crore to the government as spectrum charges and licence fee, BSNL Rs 4,989 crore and MTNL Rs 3,122 crore.