Telecom tribunal asks DoT to return bank guarantees to Aircel

The Economic Times

The telecom tribunal on Monday directed the Department of Telecommunications to return bank guarantees worth more than Rs 450 crore to Aircel. The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) ruling is a huge relief to the bankrupt company, which could use the money to take care of its immediate expenses, including salaries and operating costs. For DoT, which has been trying to recover at least a part of its over Rs 6,600 crore dues from Aircel, this is a setback. The ministry is widely expected to challenge the order in the Supreme Court. The bank guarantees were given by Bharti AirtelNSE -0.50 % on behalf of the Maxis Communications-owned operator in 2016. This comes after the department insisted on the guarantees as a condition to approve Airtel's deal to buy Aircel's broadband and wireless access spectrum.