Shares of Vodafone Idea pared their gains and nosedived 35 per cent after the Supreme Court said the self-assessment of AGR dues by the Department of Telecommunication is sheer violation of court orders.
The scrip tanked nearly 30 per cent to Rs 3.40 after the order. Earlier, the share price of the telecom major opened the day at Rs 5.33 against the previous close of Rs 4.85 and rose as much as 15 per cent.
Vodafone Idea recently computed its AGR dues at Rs 21,533 crore, way below the over Rs 58,000 crore pegged by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The top court also questioned the Solicitor General on telcos’ self-assessments without permission of the court, calling it a contempt of court.
The SC categorically said it was a matter of public money that has gone unpaid for 20 years, and that that the telcos were trying to influence public opinion through the media.
“Is the officer allowing self-assessment superior to us?,” the apex court asked.
“If you want us to be harsh, we will call all telcos’ MDs and send them to jail.”
Earlier this week, the government had approached the apex court seeking approval for a formula allowing telecom service providers to make annual installments of unpaid or remaining AGR dues in next 20 years or more. The formula includes freezing interest and penalty components as of October 24, and protecting the net present value “using the discount rate” of 8 per cent.