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Birla meets Telecom Secy amid AGR issues

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Birla meets Telecom Secy amid AGR issues
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New Delhi: Amid talks of the government encashing its bank guarantee over default in payment of dues, Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday as he looked for options to keep the company afloat.

After the meeting, Birla said he "cannot say anything at the moment." Vodafone Idea on Monday paid Rs 2,500 crore to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and promised to pay another Rs 1,000 crore before the end of the week.

But the amount paid for now is less than 5 per cent of the dues that the DoT estimates the company owes to the government following a Supreme Court ruling that asked for including non-telecom revenues of telcos in computing statutory payments such as licence fee and spectrum charges.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stop DoT from taking any coercive steps for recovery of dues from Vodafone Idea.

In December, Birla had said Vodafone Idea may have to shut if there is no relief on the statutory dues. "If we are not getting anything, then I think it is the end of the story for Vodafone Idea," he had said. "It does not make sense to put good money after bad... We will shut shop."

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