Kumar Mangalam Birla Meets Telecom Secretary Amid Vodafone Idea’s AGR Issues
Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Kumar Mangalam Birla Meets Telecom Secretary Amid Vodafone Idea’s AGR Issues

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Vodafone Idea Ltd.'s Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met Telecom Secretary Anshu Jain on Tuesday, amid talks that the government may encash telecom firms’ bank guarantees over default in payment on AGR dues.

The meeting between the Aditya Birla Group chairman and the telecom secretary lasted for over an hour.

"Cannot say anything at the moment,” Birla said after coming out of the meeting. He refused to respond to queries on whether or not Vodafone Idea would default on payment of AGR dues or if the company could head towards insolvency.

On Monday, Vodafone Idea paid Rs 2,500 crore to Department of TeleCommunications and promised to pay another Rs 1,000 crore before the end of the week.

That is less than 5 percent of the annual gross revenue dues the DoT estimates the company owes the government. The Supreme Court, in an Oct. 24, 2019 ruling, including non-telecom revenues of telecom firms for computing statutory payments such as licence fees and spectrum charges. The apex court on Monday refused to stop DoT from taking any coercive steps for recovery of dues from Vodafone Idea.

Also Read: What Will It Take To Save Vodafone Idea...

In December, Birla said Vodafone Idea 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 after bad... We will shut shop."

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