“Jio should pay Rcom’s AGR dues if Jio is precise person of spectrum….Spectrum is authorities’s,” mentioned Justice Arun Mishra, main the three-judge bench on the AGR case on Friday.
Emphasising that spectrum belongs to the federal government and income have to be shared, the bench requested for spectrum utilization particulars of all bancrupt telcos.
“Income must be shared. Particular person utilizing it should pay AGR dues…Spectrum includes public property. Authorities income regime permits sharing,” mentioned the apex court docket.
Friday’s improvement will come as a impolite shock to the Mukesh Ambani-led telco which appeared to have been least affected by the SC verdict widening the definition of AGR to incorporate non-core gadgets
Jio has cleared its personal AGR dues of Rs 198 crore whereas Rcom now owes the federal government Rs 25,194.58 crore in statutory dues, together with these of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (Rs 222.1 crore), which was merged with it.
“We’ve got been given to know that RCom spectrum is being utilized by Jio. Jio, Rcom directed to submit particulars of spectrum sharing settlement,” mentioned SC’s order. The case has been adjourned for subsequent Monday-August 17.
Jio’s affiliation with RCom began in 2016 when it entered right into a spectrum buying and selling and sharing take care of Rcom. The as soon as Anil Ambani led telco offered spectrum in 800 Mhz band in 13 service areas to Jio and the 2 firms shared airwaves in 17 circles.
The 2 telcos had additionally tried to ink an asset monetsiation plan for RCom however the telecom division’s refusal to offer its nod with out dues getting cleared led to the deal falling aside.
Since then telecom sector has modified drastically and whereas Jio is the main telco as we speak, Rcom is awaiting regulatory nods for its decision plan (RP).
The highest court docket additionally needed to find out about firms vying for RCom’s belongings.
“Who’s shopping for RCom? Need to know particular person behind purchaser? Not every little thing is being advised to us clearly ,” remarked the bench.
RCom and its unit Reliance Telecom which homes spectrum, fibre , knowledge centre is predicted to be offered to asset reconstruction agency UV Asset Reconstruction Firm (UVARCL), whereas Reliance Infratel-the tower unit, is more likely to go to Jio. The devoted insolvency court docket is but to offer its nod to those decision plans.
“RPs for bancrupt telcos to furnish particulars on use of spectrum . RP, for RCom ,Aircel to additionally share particulars on which entities have positioned bids below IBC,” mentioned the court docket order.
Apparently UVARCL has acquired the Nationwide Firm Regulation Tribunal‘s (NCLT) approval for getting Aircel’s belongings as effectively. Aircel’s case mirrors RCom , since spectrum stays essential asset right here as effectively.
Friday’s listening to was half of a bigger AGR case the place SC had needed to make sure that the bankrupt telcos like Rcom , Aircel and so on weren’t evading statutory dues.
Whereas Rcom collapsed in 2019 below a debt of Rs 46,000 crore, Aircel went bust below a debt of Rs 26,000 crore.
There have been a number of battles over utilization, switch and possession rights of airwaves that the bankrupt telcos have and have been most necessary asset of their decision plans.