Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla meets Telecom Secretary

Mr. Birla was accompanied by Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO of Vodafone Idea.

Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Tuesday met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash amid reports that the government may look at encashing bank guarantee over default in payment of adjusted gross revenue-related dues. Mr. Birla was accompanied by Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO of Vodafone Idea. The meeting lasted for about an hour. Mr. Birla refused to answer any queries from the media. Following the Supreme Court’s February 14 order, that asked the managing directors and directors of the companies to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for failing to pay even a ‘single penny’ to the government despite an October 2019 apex court judgment, Vodafone Idea on Monday deposited ₹2,500 crore with the Department of Telecom, while committing to pay another ₹1,000 crore by the end of this week.

However, as per DoT’s assessment, the liabilities of the company for licence fee and spectrum usage charge stand at about ₹53,000 crore.

On Monday, the Supreme Court did not entertain “an urgent oral application” made by Vodafone Idea for directions to be issued to the DoT to not take any coercive steps for recovery of AGR dues.

Vodafone Idea has been the worst hit by the Supreme Court’s October 24 decision in favour of the government on definition of AGR. In December, Mr. Birla had said that Vodafone Idea may have to shut if there was no relief on statutory dues.

The company, which reported a net loss of ₹6,439 crore for the October-December 2019 quarter, had also warned last week that its ability to continue as a going concern would depend on favourable outcome of its modification plea filed before the Supreme Court.

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