The Appellate Division on Monday gave Grameenphone three more months to pay the remaining Tk 1,000 crore of Tk 2,000 crore in audit claim it directed the mobile operator to pay to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission after GP paid Tk 1,000 crore to the commission on Sunday.
A six-member bench headed by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain gave the fresh time as the three-month deadline set by the court on November 24, 2019 for the payment of Tk 2,000 crore out of the total dues of Tk 12,579.95 crore in BTRC audit claim expired on Monday.
The court said that the High Court Division’s earlier interim order of stay over the GP payment must stand vacated in case of its failure to pay the remaining due within the specified time.
The court extended the deadline for the payment as the GP paid Tk 1,000 crore and sought six months to pay the remaining due.
GP said that the court allowed Robi six months to pay the BTRC Tk 120 crore in audit claim but GP was given only three months for the payment of a large amount of dues.
The court also directed the BRTC not to disturb GP in doing business.
The chief justice said that the court wanted foreign companies to do business following local rules.
GP in a statement told New Age, ‘We appreciate that the Appellate Division has maintained the injunction [given by the HC]. We will evaluate the order before further comments.’
Speaking about the BTRC’s stance on no-objection certificates issuance to GP, BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque told New Age that the court might have specified the benefits which GP would be entitled to after the payment.
‘The commission would act as per the court order after receiving briefing from our legal counsellor,’ Jahurul said.
Earlier the Appellate Division rebuked GP for not paying the BTRC following the apex court’s directive.
On November 24 last year, the AD asked GP to pay Tk 2,000 crore in three months.
The operator on January 26 filed a review petition with the AD to allow it to pay Tk 575 crore in twelve monthly instalments.
The first phase of legal battle of GP with the BTRC ended in 2011 when the HC declared illegal the appointment of auditor to GP by the telecom regulator.
On April 2, 2019, the commission based on an audit conducted by Toha Khan Zaman & Co, which was appointed in 2015 as part of the BTRC’s second attempt, claimed the amount from GP.
The BTRC’s claim to GP includes Tk 8,498 crore of the telecom regulator and another Tk 4,086 crore of the National Board of Revenue.
In July, 2018, the commission issued a demand letter to mobile operator Robi claiming Tk 867 crore based on an audit report on the entity’s information system.
Of the claims, Robi paid Tk 55.2 crore in two out of the five instalments following a court order to pay Tk 138 crore in advance before the settlement of audit dispute with the government.
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