27 June 2019: The government has told the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that it is liable to revoke the spectrum of Aircel for non-payment of dues, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister added that the government will stand to lose revenue if the spectrum remains unused. In a similar case related to Reliance Communications, legal opinion was being sought.
“The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has ordered DoT to maintain status quo and not take any coercive action. The DoT has filed affidavits rejecting the averments of Aircel and has submitted that the spectrum and license are liable to be revoked/ terminated on failure to make payments. The matter is subjudice,” the minister said.
Aircel has filed lawsuits seeking to restrain DoT from terminating the license and revoking the spectrum.
“In respect of spectrum assigned to Reliance Group of Companies, legal opinion / options are being examined,” he said.
The outcome of legal process will determine the financial implications for the government. Further, if spectrum remains unused, the revenue share of the government accruing from spectrum usage charges and license fees will be reduced as well.
DoT has previously told the dedicated bankruptcy court that Aircel did not own the spectrum as an asset, a stance the defunct telecom operator opposed, saying that without airwaves, its entire resolution process would be derailed.
The resolution professional which now heads Aircel said that if spectrum was withdrawn now, the telco would head straight into liquidation.
The telco told the bankruptcy court that its spectrum was worth Rs 11,000-20,000 crore and the licences, except for the Tamil Nadu circle, would expire only in 2026.