In a huge relief to ailing Aircel, the Supreme Court on Friday refused a plea by the Department of Telecom (DOT) to stay a TDSAT order ordering the cancellation of bank guarantees worth Rs 450 cr against the company.
The Department claims that the company owes over Rs 6500 crores to the government by way of dues whereas the government only has a part of it Rs 1300 cr odd covered by bank guarantees.
Aircel has already filed for bankruptcy before the NCLT, Mumbai. Any move to to invoke any dues against the company would create more problems for it.
Today, DOT urged the top court to stay a July 16, 2018, TDSAT order cancelling bank guarantees made by the company to the tune of Rs 450 crore.
These will stand automatically cancelled within a week as per the TDSAT order unless the top court intercedes and comes to DOT’s rescue.
The top court bench did not stay the order and instead said that it would hear the case on Monday. Aircel is represented in the case by lawyer Mahesh Aggarwal of Aggarwal Law Associates.
DOT mentioned the case before a bench led by A.K. Sikri, who said that he would hear it alongside Justice R.F. Nariman on Monday.
The TDSAT had earlier directed that the bank guarantees be returned to the company. But when the government did not, the TDSAT, had ordered that they be cancelled automatically within a week unless they were returned.
Aircel had written to DOT in April 2016 wishing to cede spectrum to Airtel. DOT had then asked the company Aircel to clear all dues before concluding any spectrum trading agreement with Airtel.
In the first round of litigation, Aircel had moved TDSAT against the conditional clearance. TDSAT had then asked the company to pay Rs 172 crores as license fee dues and bank guarantees.
Aircel later moved TDSAT to relieve it of the necessity of keeping alive the bank guarantees. TDSAT had ruled in its favour prompting DOT to go to the court.
The final dues if any would be subject to another litigation on the Aggregate Gross Receipts (AGR) pending in the top court. Companies have to pay license fees and spectrum user charges (SUC) as a percentage of the AGR.