SC asks GP to pay BTRC Tk 1,000cr by Monday
Published : Friday, 21 February, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 164
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Grameenphone (GP) to pay Tk 1,000 crore out of Tk 12,579 crore outstanding dues by February 24 (Monday) to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after hearing a civil review petition filed by the GP, the country's top private telecom operator, seeking review of the court's earlier order.
However, the apex court fixed February 24 for passing further order on the review petition.
Senior lawyer AM Amin Uddin and Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury appeared at the hearing for GP while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam with Additional Attorney General Murad Raza stood for the state and Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib represented the BTRC.
On January 26, GP filed a review petition with the Appellate Division, expressing that they were willing to pay only Tk 575 crore instead of Tk 2,000 crore, which the court ordered GP to pay on November 24.
On November 24, the Appellate Division ordered GP to pay Tk 2,000 crore out of the BTRC's audit claim of Tk 12,579 crore to BTRC within three months. If the GP fails to pay the amount within the stipulated
time, the High Court injunction against the realization of Tk 12,579 crore by BTRC would be vacated, the apex court added.
While hearing on the review petition Thursday, AM Amin Uddin prayed to the court to allow Grameenphone to pay Tk 500 crore within the current month and the remaining amount in equal installments in five months.
Hearing the GP counsel, the Chief Justice said, "If you pay Tk 2,000 crore then we will consider extending the time, otherwise not. It will not be right if you think that the apex court of Bangladesh is 'weak'. This is the highest court of the country. We will not reduce the amount any way."
In reply Amin Uddin said they need time till Sunday (February 23) to take a decision on the court's statement. The Chief Justice then asked him to pay the total amount (Tk 2,000 crore) within one month.
GP lawyer said, "Give us six months to pay the amount. Robi Axiata got five months time to pay Tk 1,200 crore in equal installments."
The Chief Justice then said, "GP has to pay the full amount of Tk 2,000 crore fixed by this court on November 24, 2019. Now you (GP) pay Tk 1,000 crore by Monday (February 24) and we will pass further order on that day."
On October 17, 2019, the High Court bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatema Najib issued an ad-interim injunction for two months against the realization of Tk 125.79 billion from GP by BTRC.
Lawyer Tanim Hussain Shawon who appeared at the High Court for GP said BTRC on April 2, 2019, demanded Tk 12579 crore from GP in 27 items illogically.
Then GP filed an application to a Dhaka court seeking directive so that BTRC does not realize the money from it and does not harass the mobile operator until the case is disposed of.
A Dhaka court on August 28 rejected the GP application. Then GP filed an appeal with the HC challenging the Dhaka court's rejection order.
BTRC on October 23 filed a regular leave-to-appeal petition with the Appellate Division against the High Court order of issuing injunction upon the realization of BTRC claim.
After hearing the petition, the apex court disposed of the matter on November 24, 2019.