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Supreme Court Junks Vodafone Idea Plea Against One-Time Spectrum Levies

The Supreme Court dismissed Vodafone Idea‘s petition against levying one time spectrum charges (OTSC) and came down heavily on the telco when the latter appealed that the plea was not related to the adjusted gross revenue (AGR ) case at all.

“Don’t pay anything..not this, not AGR. You will still not be touched,” said the SC bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

SC’s directions come at a time when the top court is scheduled to hear the modification appeal filed by Vodafone Idea and other telcos on AGR dues, on Tuesday.

The telco is expected to pay about Rs 3000 crore of AGR dues to the telecom department today . It has already paid Rs 3500 crore in two tranches before against total dues of about Rs 53,000 crore. This genesis of the OTSC case was when the two merging telcos were asked to furnish bank guarantees by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as a precondition for merger approvals.

Vodafone India and Idea then paid Rs3926.34 crore in cash and a bank guarantee worth Rs3322.44 crore respectively, after which the DoT cleared the deal.

Shares of the telco were trading at Rs 5.33, up by 5.93% on the BSE on Monday.

OTSC refers to the market price of non-auctioned airwaves, less the entry fee paid at the time of spectrum allotment. These charges have been a bone of contention between telecom department and operators and many of these matters are being battled out in courts.

The merged telco then appealed to Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for return of guarantees.

The tribunal in January directed DoT to refund the bank guarantees in two months but DoT moved SC on the same.

―Business Journal

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