The government on Wednesday said that the country’s five leading telecom operators understated revenue by nearly Rs 11,000 crore during two financial years and have been asked to pay additional licence fees.

The operators have been asked to pay Rs 1,842 crore, minister of state for communications Milind Deora told Parliament. The demand, for which show cause notices have been issued, has, however, been stayed by the Kerala and Chennai High Courts apart from the Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal, the minister said in response to a Parliament question.

The understatement of revenue was detected during special audits conducted for 2006-07 and 2007-08. Telecom operators are required to share a certain percentage of their revenue with the government as licence fees and an understatement would result in lower payments to the Centre.

Amount Understated

  • Reliance (over Rs 3,400 crore)
  • Tata (over Rs 3,150 crore),
  • followed by Bharti, Vodafone, and Idea.

The statement came even as it emerged that telecom firms owe the government over Rs 9,600 crore as outstanding amount for spectrum usage charges and licence fees.

Bharti Airtel owes Rs 3,275 for spectrum usage charges and licence fee followed by BSNL (Rs 2,093 crore), Deora said.

Reliance owes amount of Rs 1,656 crore. The junior minister said the government has imposed penalties of Rs 2,200 crore on operators for outstanding usage charges and licence fee.

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