Grameenphone yesterday filed a review petition with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court asking permission to pay Tk 575 crore to the telecom regulator as an adjustable deposit.
The petition was filed against a previous SC order issued on November 24 last year that asked the operator to pay Tk 2,000 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) by February 23.
In the petition, the carrier also sought an order allowing it to pay the amount in 12 equal instalments, which means it wants to pay Tk 47.92 crore every month.
Confirming the development, Hossain Sadat, director and head of regulatory affairs at Grameenphone, said they wanted to pay Tk 575 crore, which represented 25 percent of the principal amount which the BTRC claimed Grameenphone owed.
In April last year, the BTRC had an audit done by a third party and claimed that Grameenphone owed Tk 12,579.95 crore in revenue shares, unpaid taxes, and late fees until 2014 since its inception.
However, the carrier said the amount was disputed.
Of the BTRC’s claim, regulator’s principal claim was only Tk 2,299 crore while Tk 6,194 crore was late fees and another Tk 4,086 crore payable to the National Board of Revenue.
A top executive officer at Grameenphone, the leading carrier with a 46 percent market share, said his company sought the instalment facility as a High Court bench had earlier allowed Robi to pay their dues in instalments.
Following a High Court order on January 14, Robi has deposited Tk 27.60 crore as their first of five instalments to the BTRC.
Later, the regulator withdrew all the restrictions imposed on the carrier.
According to the court order, Robi will have to pay Tk 138 crore to the BTRC.
Grameenphone is now hoping that a hearing will be held within a short time and the review petition will be resolved before February 23, Sadat told The Daily Star.
However, a Supreme Court lawyer said if the Appellate Division did not hear the petition, Grameenphone would be left with no option but to pay the Tk 2,000 crore.
Failing to do so could result in the BTRC taking measures, including appointing administrators, against Grameenphone, he said.
Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed recently directed the telecom regulator to strictly follow the court order to realise the money.