Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman
ANI Photo

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the Telecom department has been actively engaging with telecom companies over the issue of statutory dues and she would wait to hear its decision.

Post the court's latest verdict, it will only be proper to wait and hear from the department concerned, she told reporters here when asked whether the government was mulling relief for the telecom companies after the recent Supreme Court orders directing them to clear the dues.

"The department has been actively engaging with telecom companies, immediately after the orders and subsequently also after the review so the department is fully in touch with the companies and I will wait to hear from the department or on behalf of the government from the department, so that we know what is the position that the department wants to take on the matter," the Finance Minister said.

After being rapped by the Supreme Court for failing to deposit AGR dues, Vodafone Idea on Monday moved the apex court saying it can pay only Rs 2,500 crore of the arrears to the government as of now and will follow it up with another Rs 1,000 crore by February 21.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra declined to accept the proposal submitted by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Vodafone, after he mentioned the matter.

The telecom firm also appealed to the top court that the Department of Telecom should not take any coercive action and invoke bank guarantees, as an action of this nature would have consequences and would eventually hamper their operations.

Earlier today, the first AGR payment came to government as Airtel paid Rs 10,000 crore dues to the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The company said it is paying Rs 10,000 crore in compliance with the Supreme Court order.

It paid Rs 9,500 crore on behalf of Bharti Airtel and Telenor which has merged with the parent company and Rs 500 crore for Bharti Hexacom, its subsidiary.

(With input from Agencies)

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