The Appellate Division on Thursday directed mobile operator Grameenphone to inform the court by October 31 how much money it could pay as deposit to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission out of its Tk 12,579 crore dues to the BTRC in the form of audit claim.
A four-judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain also adjourned until October 31 hearing in the application filed by the BTRC seeking permission to appeal against the High Court’ temporary injunction on realisation of GP’s dues by BTRC.
As the court wanted that GP should deposit 50 percent of the total dues during the pendency of the hearing, GP’s lawyers prayed for one week time to consult with their client about how much money it could pay to the BTRC.
Supreme Court Bar Association president AM Amin Uddin and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh MP with lawyers Sharif Bhuiyan and Tanim Hossain Shawon appeared for GP.
BTRC said they would wait for the outcome of the AD hearing on GP dues before taking further move to start fresh discussion with GP about the dues as directed by prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Joy on October 21 directed the authorities concerned to take steps again to start discussion with GP and Robi over the telecom regulator’s claim that the companies owed the government Tk 13,446 crore in audit claims.
The BTRC moved the AD after a bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatema Najib on October 17 issued the two-month injunction on realisation of the dues from GP following a petition filed by GP challenging the order issued by the first joint district judge’s court on August 28.
The first joint district judge’s court in its order had refused to grant the injunction on the realisation of the money.
On April 2, the BTRC served a demand notice on GP after an audit firm, a joint venture of Toha Khan Zaman and Co Chartered Accountants, calculated that GP had not paid Tk 12,579.95 crore to the BTRC and the National Board of Revenue since 1997.
On October 17, the telecom ministry approved a BTRC proposal to appoint administrators to GP and another mobile company, Robi, over the non-payment of audit claims.
The BTRC had earlier directed Robi to pay Tk 867.24 crore in audit claim.
The BTRC on September 5 this year issued the show-cause notices to GP and Robi asking them why their licences would not be cancelled for non-payment of the audit claims.
A few days before issuance of the show-cause notices, both the companies filed lawsuits with the district court challenging the legality of the regulator’s moves to recover Tk 13,446 crore in audit claims.
Meanwhile, the HC bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Khizir Hayat on Thursday deferred again to November 3 for passing its order on the Robi’s application seeking an injunction on realisation of Tk 867.24 crore as audit claim by the BTRC from Robi.