The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the telecom companies, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, to finalise a roadmap of payment of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) related dues to the government, including the time to be allowed for payment along with submission of securities.
In turn, the two companies sought some time make the balance AGR payments, agreeing to have their licences cancelled in case they failed to do meet the deadline.
Bharti Airtel said it has already paid Rs 18,000 crore, or 70 per cent of the Rs 25,600 crore received by DoT from all companies.
Vodafone Idea, which has liabilities amounting to Rs 50,000 crore, pleaded that it does not have enough money to pay and should be given some time. It added that its licensed could be cancelled if it failed to pay up.
SC asked the telecom companies if they are ready to furnish bank guarantees in case of cancellation of the license.
On May 18, the top court had lashed out at Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and other mobile phone operators for self-assessing their outstanding telecom dues, saying they need to pay past dues with interest and penalty an estimated amount of Rs 1.6 trillion.
The apex court had also came down heavily on the DoT for allowing companies to re-assess what they owed to the government, and said its order passed on October 24, 2019 on revenues for calculating dues was final.
The Union government also admitted to the difference in licences of the telecom companies and the PSUs.
The apex court then questioned the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) on the AGR demands raised against the public sector undertakings. The court said its order never dealt with PSUs.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been asked by the apex court to clarify the raising of demand within three days of the order.
The court will hear the AGR case again on June 18.