On Thursday, the Supreme Court directed telecom operators to file a roadmap of the payment of the AGR dues, the time allowed for payment, and the securities they can provide, in the next five days.
The apex court also said the demand of Rs 4 lakh crore against PSUs (public sector units) was impermissible and should be reconsidered, as imposing AGR dues on PSUs (public sector units) may not be in public interest.
Shares of GAIL, Power Grid, Oil India gained after the verdict.
The Supreme Court questioned the government on how telecom demands were made on PSUs and why such demands were not made for 30 years but only after its verdict on AGR last year.
In October 2019, the long dispute between telecom operators and the Department of Telecom was settled by the Supreme Court, where the verdict was in favour of DoT to widen the definition of AGR to include non-core items. License fees and spectrum usage charges are calculated on the basis of AGR. Some 15 telecom companies owed around Rs 1.69 lakh crore to the government as AGR dues because of the verdict.
On Thursday, sceptical of the government's plans for staggering recovery of the amount in 20 years from telecom companies, including Vodafone Idea and Bharti, the Supreme Court asked the companies to file affidavits regarding the roadmap they are proposing to clear the dues.
Vodafone Idea, that owes around Rs 53,000 crore as AGR dues informed the court that the dues are huge for the firm to be able to file the affidavit in 3-4 days. It also said that it does not have enough money to pay salaries to employees and meet expenses. The company also expressed its inability to give any bank guarantee.