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DoT moves Supreme Court to secure dues worth Rs 33,000 cr

Telcos think it will increase the financial burden on them

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MUMBAI: A recent move from the Department of telecommunications (DoT) may push telecom players in the country deeper into trouble. According to a report from Economic Times, DoT has moved the Supreme Court for approval to secure dues worth almost Rs 33,000 crore from all operators. The department in favour of the move has argued that existing bank guarantees aren’t enough to cover the “huge public money” at stake.

According to the report, DoT filed two petitions pleading the court to ensure that the “government’s interests are secured”. In the separate but identical petitions, they claimed that fresh bank guarantees for Rs 28.70 crore and Rs 32,655.58 crore are needed from the operators.

DoT said in the petitions that it is “not adequate security towards its outstanding assessed annual license fee and SUC dues” even with existing financial bank guarantees and withholding the performance bank guarantee of the licensee companies.

Telcos think it will increase the financial burden on them if the court speaks in favour of the petition.

Shares of telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) plunged up to 6 per cent in morning trade following the move of DoT.

Reliance Communications would be in deep trouble as it is already debt burdened. Any decision favouring DoT could add to its financial liabilities which could lead to delay of the sale of its spectrum to Reliance Jio.

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