SC provides temporary relief to Airtel over Videocon’s AGR dues

NEW DEHLI: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed DoT not to invoke the bank guarantees (BGs) of Bharti Airtel for three weeks for recovering Rs 1,376 crore in AGR-related dues of Videocon Telecom Ltd (VTL) which had sold its spectrum to the Bharti group.
The top court, which refused to entertain Airtel’s plea that VTL dues are not payable by it, permitted the telecom major to approach the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) with the grievances.
The DoT shall not invoke the bank guarantee of Respondent…(Bharti Airtel) for the period of three weeks from today, a bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah said in its order.
At the outset, the bench made clear to senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Airtel, that it will not interfere with the earlier judgement.
We are making it very clear that we will not interfere with the judgement and we will give you the liberty to withdraw to approach the appropriate forum, the bench said.
It also noted the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Department of Telecom, that DoT will be permitted to raise all the grounds including the objection to the jurisdiction, if any, before the forum to be chosen Airtel.
Airtel said a DoT communication of August 17 has directed it to pay AGR related dues of VTL within a week, failing which the BGs.
Divan referred to various documents including the spectrum trading guidelines and said that the dues — arising from the Adjusted Gross Revenue or AGR of VTL, the seller of the spectrum — were known at the time of the sale and hence the seller and not the buyer can be fastened with the liability to pay. —PTI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.