DoT Asks Telcos to Clear AGR Dues by Friday Midnight: Report
After facing ire from the Supreme Court, the department of telecom (DoT) has asked telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea among other to clear their dues by Friday midnight, says a report from the Mint.
 
The order asked telcos to clear dues by 11.59pm Friday.
 
The DoT's licensing finance wing (LFP), in a letter to the telcos, said: "This office letter from LFP of 23 January 2020 stands withdrawn with immediate effect. It is directed to take immediate necessary action in compliance with the judgement of 24 October 2019 of the Supreme Court."

As per the DoT calculations, Airtel has to pay Rs35,500 crore, Vodafone Idea has to pay Rs53,000 crore and Tata Teleservices has to pay a little over Rs12,500 crore.

Telcos owe Rs1.47 lakh crore to DoT on account of pending AGR.
 
Following the rap from the apex court, the DoT has decided to withdraw its direction granting protection from coercive action to defaulting telecom companies. 
 
Quoting sources, a report from IANS, says, "DoT would submit the entire chain of facts and discussions and record notings leading to a desk officer issuing the letter, which cannot be an individual action but took place with approval from the competent authority and his seniors in the Supreme Court on 17 March 2020 and would apprise Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on the issue."
 
The sources told IANS that the DoT withdrew its order immediately after the Supreme Court directed the managing directors and directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay AGR of Rs1.47 lakh crore to the DoT.
 
The letter, written last month, by an officer in the licensing finance policy wing, under the DoT, said no coercive action to be taken against telecom companies if they fail to comply with the top court order until further orders.
 
Reprimanding the government on the desk officer's conduct, the court said this officer has written a letter to the attorney general, the top law officer, and other constitutional authorities directing them not insist on payment of money by the telecom companies.
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    DoT withdraws order protecting telcos after stern SC rap
    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Friday withdrew its direction granting protection from coercive action to defaulting telecom companies after the Supreme Court earlier in the day took a strong view of non-compliance of its order on payment of statutory dues and blamed both the DoT and the telcos.
     
    Sources said that the DoT would submit the entire chain of facts and discussions and record notings leading to a desk officer issuing the letter which cannot be an individual action but took place with approval from the competent authority and his seniors in the Supreme Court on March 17 and would apprise Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on the issue. 
     
    Sources also said since a review petition and later a modification petition were filed, the recovery was pending. DoT is preparing its case and is likely to seek Law Ministry's views over it.
     
    According to the sources, the DoT withdrew its order immediately after the Supreme Court directed the Managing Directors and Directors of telcos and other firms to explain why contempt action be not taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the DoT.
     
    A three-judge Supreme Court Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah directed the presence of all Directors of the telecom companies, including the Managing Director, on the next date of hearing on March 17.
     
    The DoT desk officer's letter directing no coercive action against the telecom companies for not paying dues, had irked the top court with Justice Mishra, asking: "Should we wind up this court? A desk officer considers himself a judge and stays this court's orders... how can this officer stay our orders, who is this desk officer?" 
     
    The letter, written last month, by an officer in the Licensing Finance Policy Wing, under the DoT, said no coercive action to be taken against telecom companies if they fail to comply with the top court order until further orders. 
     
    Reprimanding the government on the desk officer's conduct, the court said this officer has written a letter to the Attorney General, the top law officer, and other constitutional authorities directing them not insist on payment of money by the telecom companies.
     
    Justice Mishra also directed the DoT to withdraw the letter by evening. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  • User

    COMMENTS

    vijay.bapat

    7 days ago

    Modi government prides itself for clean governance. Should'nt the heads roll, from Telecom Minister downward, in the DOT?

    Karnataka HC stays CCI probe against Amazon, Flipkart
    The Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered a stay on the Competition Commission of India's (CCI) probe into violation of competition laws by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart.
     
    The court has asked the respondents in the matter including CCI and Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to file their responses within eight weeks.
     
    The High Court was of the view that the ongoing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should be first be completed. Last year, the ED initiated insvestigation against both Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of the foreign exchange law.
     
    Amazon had on Monday filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking stay on the CCI probe order into its alleged violations of the competition laws. The anti-trust body had in January had ordered an enquiry into the operations of both Amazon and Flipkart on multiple counts, including deep discounts and exclusive tie-ups with preferred sellers.
     
    In its plea, Amazon had sought "quashing and setting aside" of the CCI's probe order dated January 13, 2020, claiming that the fair competition watchdog passed orders against the company without applying mind and caused serious loss to its reputation.
     
    Amazon had pleaded for an interim stay on the proceedings as the balance of convenience for stay lies in favour of the petitioner as a bonafide company.
     
    In its order, the CCI had said that it needs to be investigated whether the alleged exclusive arrangements, deep discounting and preferential listing by Amazon and Flipkart are being used as an exclusionary tactic to foreclose competition. Also, it needs to be seen if such practices are resulting in an appreciable adverse effect on competition, contravening the provisions of Section 3(1) read with Section 3(4) of the Competition Act.
     
    "In view of the foregoing, the Commission is of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case which requires an investigation by the Director General (DG), to determine whether the conduct of the OPs (Amazon and Flipkart) have resulted in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1) of the Act read with Section 3(4) thereof, as detailed in this order," the CCI's January order said.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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