The Supreme Court today criticised telecom companies for not paying dues worth thousands of crores to the government and summoned their top executives to explain why they did not follow the court’s order to pay up. The top court also came down heavily on the government for not doing enough to collect the dues.
“If you want us to use harsh words we don’t want to use. This petition shouldn’t have been filed. Nonsense has been created. No law is left in the country? I am anguished. I feel I should not work in this court,” the Supreme Court judge said.
The Supreme Court had ordered the telecom companies to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) worth Rs 92,000 crore to the government.
The managing directors of Bharti Airtel , Vodafone, MTNL, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Telecommunication and others have been summoned to the court on March 17.
“We will initiate contempt against the officer and the companies. Not a penny has been deposited… Is it not the outcome of money power?” the Supreme Court said today, referring to a “desk officer” in the government who had “stayed” the top court’s order.
“I am totally at loss how to work in this system and in this country… A desk officer considers himself judge and stays our order. Who is the desk officer? Where is the desk officer. Call him now here. Is there any law left in the country?” the judge said.
“No company has deposited anything for many years. They should have deposited some money,” the top court said.
Telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices had approached the Supreme Court in January, seeking modification in the top court’s verdict in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter.
The court has already rejected the telecom service providers’ plea seeking a review of its earlier order that allowed the government to collect dues worth Rs 92,000 crore from them. The telecom companies want the top court to permit them to approach the department of telecom so that payment can be made beyond January 23, which was the deadline for the payments.―NDTV