Airtel facing demands worth Rs 5,817 crore from Department of Telecom

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Bharti Airtel is facing demands worth Rs 5,816.9 crore from Department of Telecom including a onetime spectrum charge of Rs 5,201.3 crore and penalty worth Rs 350 crore for 3G intra-circle roaming (ICR) pacts as on March 31, 2014. Apart from DoT demands, the country’s largest mobile operator has got contingent liabilities worth Rs 7,100.8 crore from various departments and agencies, including income tax for Rs 2,070 crore and customs duty worth Rs 605 crore. “The contingent liabilities represent disputes with various government authorities in the respective jurisdiction where the operations are based and it is not possible for the Group to predict the timing of final outcome of these contingent liabilities,” Bharti Airtel said in a filing to the BSE.

Airtel has operations in India, South Asia and Africa. It said DoT demands include those raised for “contentious matters” relating to computation of license fees and spectrum charges, alleged short payment of license fee for FY06-07 and FY07-08 and subscriber verification norms. It has also has received show cause notices from DoT for 14 of its circles for non-fulfillment of roll out obligations and these have been replied to and there has been no further development on this matter since then. Airtel said that on January 8, 2013, DoT issued a demand for Rs 5,201.3 crore towards levy of one time spectrum charge.

“The demand includes retrospective charge of Rs 9,090 million for holding GSM spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz for the period from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2012 and also a prospective charge of Rs 42,923 million for GSM spectrum held beyond 4.4 Mhz for the period from January 1, 2013, till the expiry of the initial terms of the respective licenses,” it said. On 3G ICR pacts, Airtel said TDSAT judgment dated April 29, 2014, held 3G ICR to be a competent service and quashed the penalty of Rs 350 crore levied by DoT. Airtel said the matters are being contested by it.