NEW DELHI:Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, one of the three core members of theCellular Operators Association of India(COAI), objected to the lobby group seeking relief for thetelecom sectorand claimed that the group’s plea to the government does not represent the view of the industry .
COAI’s petition came after theSupreme Court ordered legacy telecom companies to pay up₹92, 000 crore in dues, rejecting Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd’s plea that the government revenue share be calculated excluding income from non-core operations such as rent, dividend and interest income.
“COAI’s intent of using this as an opportunity to seek non-enforcement of the Supreme Court judgement and asking for relief is strongly objected by Jio,” the company said in a 30 October letter, reviewed by (Mint) ****************. “Jio will like to point out to COAI that the judgement of Supreme Court is final and to be implemented as law of the land. These operators have capacity and enough monetization possibilities to comfortably pay government dues. “
Last week, the top court upheld the government broader definition of revenue, on which it calculates levies on telecom operators, dealing a blow to telecom operators that are already burdened with losses and mounting debt.
The order marked the end of a 14 – year legal tussle between the department of telecommunications and operators. Telcos will now have to pay the government₹92, 000 crore in spectrum and license fee dues, plus interest that has accrued over these years. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, the only non-state firms that have survived a brutal consolidation in the sector over the past three years and posted a loss in the June quarter, have been the worst-hit by the order.
“In this letter (t o the government), COAI has again attempted to rake up the issue of merits of AGR case like notional revenue, which has already been settled by the Supreme Court judgement, “Jio said, adding that“ seeking relief on the very same grounds amounts to seeking relief for these operators for their wilful decision of continuing non-compliance by withholding legitimate government dues “.
COAI director general Rajan Mathews said the issue is a private matter between the members of the group. “We respect the inputs, feedback and opinions of all our members even though we may disagree with some of them. We stand by our letter on behalf of the majority of our members and it stands on its own merits and needs no further explanation, “he said