NEW DELHI: The Central government on Wednesday moved Supreme Court against the proposed merger of Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices (TTSL), reiterating that Airtel owes it Rs 8,300 crore in spectrum dues. The Supreme Court will hear the Department of Telecom’s (DoT) plea on Monday.
The two telcos on Tuesday announced completion of merger of TTSL’s consumer mobile business with Bharti Airtel. As per the deal, all of TTSL assets fall under Airtel.
The announcement came after the order of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directing DoT to take the merger on record, and approval of the schemes of arrangement by the National Company Law Tribunals in Delhi and Mumbai.
The DoT also moved the Supreme Court to challenge the TDSAT order that allowed a partial stay on Rs 8,300 crore bank guarantee demand before the merger. The DoT plea seeks a bank guarantee of Rs 7,000 crore and an upfront payment of Rs 1,288 crore as One-Time Spectrum Charges (OTSC). On May 2, the TDSAT partially stayed the DoT’s demand for Rs 8,300 crore in bank guarantees towards OTSC from Airtel, on the ground that similar demands had been stayed by courts in other merger cases in the industry.
TDSAT had asked Airtel to submit within a month half of the Rs 1,287.97 crore demand raised by DoT as OTSC for extension of Chennai circle licence from November 30, 2014 to September 27, 2021. In May, Airtel submitted Rs 644 crore bank guarantee to the TDSAT towards the merger.
It is to be noted that on Tuesday, the SC had dismissed DoT’s plea against the TDSAT order that had put the liabilities of past dues relating to Spectrum Usage Charges on Reliance Communications and not on Reliance Jio.