India’s Supreme Court has criticised telcos and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for conducting self-assessments of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)-related dues without permission from the apex court, calling the move tantamount to ‘fraud’, the Economic Times writes. The court ruled that operators must pay the full dues – including interest and penalties – in line with the government’s initial estimate, which it described as ‘full and final’. The court went on to say that ‘exercise of self-assessment of AGR dues by telecom companies cannot be permitted even in wildest dreams’. Referring to the DoT’s decision to ask companies to complete and submit self-assessments for the dues, which it would then use in its own calculations, the Supreme Court accused the ministry of attempting to override its ruling. Further, the bench reiterated further legal action against DoT officials and company executives with Justice Mishra quoted as saying ‘We can call every managing director of the companies and send them to jail from here’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices (TTSL) have paid what they claim is the full amount of their AGR dues based on their self-assessments, but the figures were substantially lower than the DoT’s original estimates. For its part, Vodafone Idea paid what it said was the principal amount of its AGR bill earlier this week.