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Supreme Court rejects telecoms’ plea to recalculate dues owed to Centre

In a setback for telecom companies, the Supreme Court dismissed the applications filed by telecom majors, including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices, for recomputing adjusted gross revenue (AGR) owed to the government. Telecom companies had moved the Supreme Court last year seeking modification in the top court’s verdict in the AGR matter.

“All the miscellaneous applications are dismissed,” a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said while pronouncing the order.

Voda Idea had claimed that its dues were 58,000 crore and debt amounted to ₹ 1.8 lakh crore, and had sought a correction in its “arithmetic errors,” whereas Bharti Airtel had claimed duplication and unaccounted payments.

The top court in September last year had given a time of 10 years to telecom service providers struggling to pay ₹ 93,520 crores of AGR-related dues to clear their outstanding amount to the government.

The dispute centres around the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR). Telecoms pay a percentage of their revenues as license fee to government. They argue that non-core business like rent or income from sale of handsets or roaming charges should not be included in the revenue of which they pay a percentage – they want to pay only on revenue earned from their core business. The court did not agree. NDTV

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