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Vodafone Idea Will Have to Shut Shop If Govt Doesn’t Provide Relief, Says Chairman Kumar Birla

Birla indicated that his group will not invest any money in the company in the absence of relief from the government.

File photo of Kumar Mangalam Birla. (Image: Reuters)

New Delhi: Vodafone Idea will have to be closed down if the government doesn’t provide relief that the company has sought, its chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said on Friday.

“We will have to shut shop,” Birla, who is also the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group — a co-promoter of Vodafone Idea said on a query about the course of action for the company going ahead in the absence of government relief. He was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

Birla indicated that his group will not invest any money in the company in the absence of relief from the government, as he presented a gloom and doom scenario for the government.

“There is no sense that good money should follow bad money,” he said, adding that the company will have to opt for insolvency route in the absence of relief.

Birla along with senior executives of Vodafone Idea had reportedly met top bureaucrats last week to seek urgent relief from the government, warning that failure to do so could pose stiff business challenges.

The company, along with Airtel, has been the worst hit by a recent Supreme Court judgment that backed the government’s broader AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) definition to include non-core items—and face combined dues worth nearly Rs 81,000 crore in licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC), with penalties and interest.

Vodafone Idea had reported a loss of Rs 50,921 crore for the September quarter, India’s biggest ever, on the back of the AGR ruling and its stock prices have fallen sharply. While the company filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s 24 October judgement on AGR dues, uncertainty remains with respect to the payment.

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Source: News18