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Airtel moves SC over ‘error’ in DoT’s AGR calculation

Bharti Airtel Ltd has moved the Supreme Court over “arithmetical errors” in the department of telecommunications’ (DoT) calculation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues to be paid by the telecom major, said a person aware of the matter.

According to the DoT’s calculation, Airtel owes a total of ₹43,980 crore in AGR dues including principal, interest, penalty and interest on penalty. However, the telco as per its self-assessment owes to the government ₹13,004 crore. Airtel has already paid ₹18,004 crore to the DoT.

“The date of the hearing has not been decided yet,” said the person.

Rival Vodafone Idea Ltd (Vi) may follow suit, said the person, adding that the telco can either become a party to Airtel’s plea or can approach the top court separately. The telcos are only pointing out “arithmetical errors” in DoT’s calculation through the pleas and are yet to a call on whether to file curative petitions against the SC’s September order.

In September, the apex court allowed telecom operators 10 years to pay up AGR dues. The development came as a relief for Vodafone Idea, for which survival would have been a concern had the apex court not agreed to a staggered payment schedule. The company owes over ₹58,000 crore in AGR dues, of which it has already paid ₹7,854 crore.

A three-judge apex court bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, had directed telcos to make 10% upfront payment of their AGR dues, with the 10-year payment schedule to begin on 1 April, 2021, and the annual instalments to be paid by 7 February every year. Livemint

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