The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has told the Supreme Court (SC) that Bharti Airtel has refused to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) related dues of Videocon Telecommunications (VTL).

In an affidavit filed in the SC, DoT said that in line with its order of September 1, 2020 on AGR dues, it had raised a demand to recover VTL’s dues from Airtel worth Rs 13.76 billion, which the latter has declined to pay.

According to DoT, it had requested Airtel vide letters dated October 7, 2020 and February 24, 2021 to make the payment of AGR related dues of VTL.  In its response, Airtel, through letters dated October 16, 2020 and March 4, 2021, said that DoT’s demand has no basis in law and that Airtel cannot be held responsible for VTL’s past dues given that the buyer of spectrum is not responsible for dues which were known at the time of trade. As per the DoT affidavit, Airtel added that DoT had never raised such demand from Airtel in the past and maintained its position that these dues were solely recoverable from VTL.

VTL had sold rights to use spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in six circles to Airtel in 2016 for Rs 44.28 billion.