Dhaka, Feb 14 – The Appellate Division is likely to hear very soon on a petition filed by the Grameenphone (GP) authority praying to the Appellate Division to allow it to pay around Tk 575 crore in 12 instalments to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) against the dues found in the audit. Talking to this correspondent, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that the Appellate Division will start hearing very soon on the review petition filed by the Grameenphone seeking apex court’s permission to pay Tk 575 crore in 12 equal monthly instalments as adjustable deposits to BTRC.
In response to a query, the chief law officer of the state said that they are ready to move at the Appellate Division to take part in the hearing on the petition at any time.
Earlier on November 24 last year, the apex court ordered Grameenphone to pay Tk 2,000 crore, around 10 times higher than what the operator was willing to pay to the BTRC.
On November 14, Grameenphone agreed to pay BTRC a sum of Tk 200 crore against the regulator’s audit claim of Tk 12,580 crore within the next three months.
Later, on January 26, the Grameenphone filed a review petition with the apex court praying to allow it to pay around Tk 575 crore in 12 instalments to the BTRC against the dues found in the audit.
Director and head of regulatory affairs of Grameenphone Hossain Sadat expressed the hope that Appellate Division would review the previous order and allow GP to pay dues for a “transparent resolution” of the matter as soon as possible.
He said new investments, improvement of services, and overall day-to-day activities of the telecom operator have been facing a setback due to restrictions imposed by the regulator.
On July 22, the BTRC halted the issuance of any sort of no-objection certificates to Grameenphone and Robi, the country’s two largest mobile phone operators.
The BTRC move came in line with the announcement made by its chairman on July 17 that the commission would take such a step to realise Tk 134.46 billion audit claims from the operators.
The restrictions forced the operators to suspend launching new packages and services while opening letters of credit for the imports of equipment and software as well.
Besides, the operators were barred from running packages after the expiry of the BTRC’s existing NOC for the packages.
On January 14, BTRC, however, lifted the ban on Robi as the operator paid the first instalment
of Tk 1.38 billion fixed by the High Court as settlement for the disputed audit demand.
On April 2, 2019, the telecom regulator demanded Tk 125.80 billion from Grameenphone as audit claim, prompting the company to take recourse to litigation. – Staff Reporter