The Department of Telecommunications seeking nearly Rs 3 lakh crore in dues from non-telecom PSUs, such as GAIL, Oil India Ltd and PowerGrid, was a result of “communication gap” as these firms do not owe any such amount, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.
Following the October 24 Supreme Court ruling that non-telecom revenues of telecom firms such as Bharti AirtelNSE 1.78 % and Vodafone Idea should be included for considering payments of government dues, the telecom department sought Rs 1.72 lakh crore from gas utility GAIL India Ltd, Rs 48,000 crore from OIL, Rs 40,000 crore from PowerGrid and raised similar demands from RailTel and other public sector undertakings (PSUs).
The government’s demand from such companies increased many times more than their net worth and the Centre asked them to go to the Supreme Court against such dues. While Oil India Ltd filed a clarificatory/ modificatory petition on Wednesday, GAIL approached the apex court on Thursday.
“We are in discussion with the telecom ministry. We had given them our reply (on the demand raised),” Pradhan told reporters here. “Possibly because of communication gap, the Government of India’s one department has raised such demand on PSUs under another government department.”
He said parallel to discussions with the DoT, the Supreme Court has been approached on the issue.
“Where is GAIL in core telecom work? Is PGCIL in core telecom work or does Oil India do any core telecom job,” he asked. “We feel there should be no impact (of the October 24 Supreme Court ruling) on these companies.”
Pradhan said the approach to the Supreme Court and discussions with the DoT were being conducted simultaneously.
He, however, did not say if seeking relief from the Supreme Court was limited to PSUs under his ministry filing pleas in the apex court or his ministry would also file a petition.