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Non-payment of AGR: Telcos next course of action, as SC tears into them

Delhi,Business/Economy

Author : Indo Asian News Service

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Telecom companies -- Airtel, Vodafone Idea (VIL) and Tata Teleservices are busy discussing their next course of action --whether they should pay their individual AGR dues out of the total Rs 1.47 lakh crore by Friday evening to escape the top court's wrath.

None of the telcos though commented on what course of action they would take and how much of their individual dues will be paid, after the Supreme Court's order earlier in the day that tore into the firms for not depositing a single penny since its order on October 24 last year.

The apex court slammed the Department of Telecom while stating it may issue contempt notices against DoT officer for issuing an order for not taking coercive action against telcos to recover the dues since October 24.

The next date of hearing is March 17. The court on Friday demanded that the DoT withdraw its executive order overriding the court order to recover the dues.

Department of Telecom officials declined to comment if they will issue that notice today or next week.

The top court has ordered the managing directors of Bharti Airtel , Vodafone, MTNL, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Telecommunication and others to be present in the court on March 17.

The telcos are expected to give the first tranche of the total estimated dues of Rs 1.47 trillion immediately.

VIL is staring at statutory dues of Rs 53,000 crore that it needs to pay to the government. Confronted by these liabilities -- Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and another Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee -- it had previously warned of shutdown if no relief was granted.

Airtel has to pay Rs 35,500 croe as AGR dues.

--IANS

ana/in



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