In relief for Aircel, Supreme Court asks DoT and Airtel to pay up

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court granted relief to bankrupt telco Aircel by paving the best way for the corporate to obtain Rs 751 crore, which might be used to pay worker salaries and protect belongings to be bought beneath an ongoing insolvency course of.

The apex courtroom ordered the Department of Telecommunications on Wednesday to refund Rs 298 crore in money to Aircel inside eight weeks, an quantity that was paid in reference to the telco’s Rs 3,500 crore sale of spectrum to Bharti Airtel in 2016.

The courtroom additionally upheld a Telecom tribunal’s verdict ordering DoT to return financial institution ensures price Rs 453 crore submitted to get approval for the deal and requested why Airtel had not but paid Aircel this quantity.

Airtel paid the money and submitted the financial institution ensures to DoT on behalf of cash-stricken Aircel after adjusting the quantities in opposition to the spectrum deal. Now that the financial institution ensures have lapsed, the courtroom’s order successfully means Sunil Mittalowned Airtel would wish to pay ?453 crore to Aircel.

“The SC asked DoT to pay ?298 crore within eight weeks and questioned Bharti Airtel as to why it has not returned Rs 453 crore to Aircel,” mentioned authorized consultants conscious of the developments.

The copy of the courtroom order wasn’t made public until press time. Aircel and Airtel didn’t reply to emailed queries in search of remark.

The DoT had insisted on the financial institution ensures as a situation to approve Airtel’s buy of Aircel’s 4G airwaves. Aircel contested the demand within the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, which directed that the financial institution ensures be returned.

Aircel declared chapter earlier this yr and is racing to elevate funds to restart operations, generate income and promote belongings or Companies to repay not less than a part of the Rs 19,000 crore it owes to banks.

A chapter courtroom had given the operator till January 15 to resolve the insolvency, failing which the corporate could go beneath liquidation. The operator has struggled to elevate funds thus far.

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