SC worried that almost entire AGR dues will be wiped out in IBC process

New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it is extremely worried that almost the entire AGR dues will be wiped out in the IBC process, and noted that spectrum trading is different from sale of spectrum in IBC.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah conducted the hearing on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and past dues of the insolvent companies on the fourth day in continuation.

Justice Mishra observed that almost the entire AGR dues will be wiped out in the IBC process, and after the sale of the spectrum, the new user would have extinguished any demand pending.

He also asked could AGR dues be eclipsed under the guise of insolvency proceedings under the IBC, adding that it’s like a person is not paying but riding the horse. “You must pay the price…until one pays, he cannot use it,” Justice Mishra said.

The top court noted that it bothers the court that AGR dues remain unpaid.

Mishra said in case the dues are not paid, the spectrum must be surrendered.

Senior counsel Ravi Kadam, representing the monitoring committee of Aircel, contended before the bench that board resolutions of Aircel have been placed on record.

Justice Mishra ten asked who was using the spectrum which Aircel surrendered? To which, Kadam said that no one and there is no instance of spectrum with any operator by Aircel as it was surrendered to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), which was accepted by it.

Kadam informed the court that when spectrum was sold, one-shot payment or deferred payment was proposed, and all companies paid little by little, and this does not mean there are dues.

Kadam insisted that there is no dispute on ownership and the contract stipulates that one has the right to transfer.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing the lenders of Aircel, contended before the court that spectrum is a raw material for telcos and addressed the court on the rights of telcos to transfer the right to use spectrum, as recognised under the tripartite licence agreement.

He argued that even the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has sought for spectrum sale under the IBC.

The hearing on the matter will continue on Friday.

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