New Delhi, June 18: Vodafone Idea on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is in no position to furnish bank guarantee, citing losses of over Rs 1 lakh crore. Another telecom operator Bharti Airtel suggested that the telecom company needs to sit down with the government on calculations of the dues. 

Regarding the matter, Department of Telecom (DoT) said while telecom operators have filed affidavits, they still need time to reply on the roadmaps and timelines for the payment of their AGR dues to the government and the security they seek to provide against it, The Economic Times reported. 

Voda Idea owes Rs 58,254 crore in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government. It has paid only Rs 6,854 crore so far. Airtel owes Rs 25,976 crore after paying Rs 18,004 crore. 

DoT told Supreme Court (SC) it has withdrawn 96 per cent of the AGR demand from PSUs, amounting to Rs 3.7 lakh crore. It has filed affidavits explaining the reasons why it sought AGR dues from PSUs. 

On Vodafone’s statement, SC asked the company about the last five years’ profits and income tax returns. 

Vodafone Idea admitted no bank will give the company loan today and said it will have to fold up if asked to pay the dues upfront. 

“Payment in installment only way to remain a going concern,” it said. 

To this argument, SC asked what if the company goes into insolvency in the next 20 years. 

The apex court asked telcos to come up with a reasonable payment plan, reminding them that telecom is the only sector that is minting money during the pandemic. 

SC said the government needs the money during the pandemic, and told Vodafone Idea that it is not the only player in the sector. 

Vodafone Idea said it wonders how can independent directors be asked to give guarantee for dues as high as Rs 55,000 crore. It sought two weeks of time to reply to the SC. The court asked telecom operators to furnish details of the revenues and the tax paid by them in the past 10 years, in its next hearing. 

With this, the SC adjourned the hearing till the third week of July. 

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