Vodafone Idea on Monday said it has paid Rs 3,354 crore to the department of telecommunications (DoT) as part payment of its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
In its self-assessment of AGR liabilities, submitted to DoT, Vodafone Idea said the company owes Rs 6,854 crore as principal amount from FY07 to FY19.
The company had earlier paid a sum of Rs 2,500 crore on February 17, and a further Rs 1,000 crore on February 20 towards this liability.
Vodafone had earlier made a strong plea for setting off Rs 8,000 crore of goods and services tax (GST) credit.
It also sought a three-year moratorium on payment of the remaining amount (which should be staggered over 15 years at a simple interest rate of 6 per cent), drastic cut in licence fee and fixing of a minimum price for calls and data.
The company is desperately seeking relief. This can be gauged from the fact that Vodafone Group chief executive officer (CEO) Nick Read met finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad during his short trip to India earlier this month.
While Read offered “no-comments” after his meeting with Prasad, sources at DoT indicated that the company was “positive” about its stay in India.
A top DoT official had also said, “We want Vodafone Idea to stay invested in India. This is because after the digital push by the government, there is enormous business opportunity in India.
But there is a need for the company to upgrade technology.”
Vodafone PLC holds 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Idea, while Idea holds a little over 25 per cent and remaining shareholding is public.
In December, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Vodafone Idea, had said it may have to shut if there is no relief on statutory dues. “If we are not getting anything, then I think it is the end of the story for Vodafone Idea,” Birla had said. “It does not make sense to put good money. We will shut shop,” he had addded.
On February 14, the Supreme Court rejected a plea by companies such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for extension in the payment schedule. It asked all of them to deposit an estimated Rs 1.47 trillion in past dues for spectrum and licences. It threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against top executives of these firms for non-payment.
In all, as many as 15 entities owe the government Rs 1.47 trillion — Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.
Last October, the Supreme Court had upheld the government’s definition of AGR, by which it calculates levies on telecom operators