New Delhi: Pulling up the Centre and telecom companies, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the self-assessment of AGR dues by the Department of Telecommunication is ‘sheer violation of court orders’. Also Read - Madhya Pradesh: After Issuing Notices to Kamal Nath Govt, Supreme Court to Hear Floor Test Matter Today
Coming down heavily on telecom companies, the court said serious fraud was being committed by telcos asserting to do self-assessment of AGR dues and that its judgment was final and to be followed in letter and spirit. Also Read - Centre Defends CAA Before Supreme Court, Calls it Legal, Constitution
“We will be a party to fraud if we allow self-assessment of AGR dues by telecom companies,” the bench said, adding, it cannot permit encroachment of its powers. Also Read - Madhya Pradesh Crisis: Kamal Nath Rules Out Floor Test; All Eyes Set on Supreme Court
In its order, the three-judge bench led by Justice Mishra, and comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah further held that no further objection would be entertained, adding that telecom company will have to pay interest and penalty as per its earlier judgment.
“All dues as per our judgement will have to be paid, including interest and penalty. The Solicitor General had filed a plea seeking reasonable time, we will consider this plea on the next date,” the order stated.
The top court, which was also anguished by frequently published newspaper articles on the AGR issue, said all managing directors of telecom companies will be personally responsible and held for contempt of court for any such future write-ups hiding the truth.
“Are we fools?… Do the DoT officers think they are superior to us? Are these companies untouchable? Everyone has been trying to influence us… Newspapers are having articles after articles but we won’t budge,” said a bench headed by Justice Mishra.
The Supreme Court will now hear the next AGR case after two weeks.
Soon after the order, the Sensex plummeted 1005.61 points or 3.29 per cent to 29,573.48 Nifty tanks 311.40 points or 3.47 per cent at 8,655.65 in the early afternoon trade. Shares of telecom players such as Vodafone Idea also suffered a sudden steep fall of 40 per cent in morning trade on BSE.