GP to pay another Tk 1000cr by May

Grameenphone (GP) must pay another installment of Tk 1,000 crore of the dues claimed by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) within May this year. The Appellate Division passed the order on Monday.

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain led the six-member appellate bench. Court said, If GP does not pay the required amount within that time, the High Court’s ban on the notice of demand for the BTRC’s audit objection will be revoked, so there will be no restriction for the BTRC to appoint an administrator.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Deputy Attorney General Murad Raza appeared for the state while Barrister Khandaker Reza-e-Raqib represented BTRC and Barrister Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury stood for GP.

On Sunday, the mobile operator company paid Tk 1000 crore to the BTRC. Hossain Sadat, director, and head of regulatory affairs of GP handed over the cheque to BTRC chairman Zahurul Haque at the BTRC office in the capital.

After the court order on Monday, Zahurul Haque at an immediate press briefing at the BTRC office told journalists that, “We already got new directions from the court order. If the court instructs us to withdraw the NOC, we will. However, everything will be conducted as per the court order.”

Earlier, the Appellate Division on February 20, ordered GP to pay Tk 1,000 crore to BTRC within February 24. A seven-member appellate bench led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain issued the order. On November 24, 2019, the Appellate Division asked GP to pay Tk 2,000 crore of the Tk 12,579.95 crore dues claimed by BTRC within three months. The deadline expired on February 23.

BTRC claimed the dues in 27 sectors from the mobile operator but failed to recover the money. Later, BTRC sent a notice to GP threatening to revoke its licence in April 2 last year. However, GP moved to the court seeking a temporary injunction on the notice, which was turned down on August 28 that year. 

The mobile operator later filed an appeal with the High Court. On October 17, the High Court imposed a two-month injunction on realisation of dues from GP. BTRC later moved the Appellate Division against the order.