Setback for Bharti Airtel: SC allows Centre’s plea against Rs 923 crore GST refund

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The Supreme Court barred telecom major Bharti Airtel from seeking Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund of Rs 923 crore, on October 28. The apex court, in its order, allowed the Central government’s plea against the Delhi High Court order that had directed to issue the tax refund to Bharti Airtel by rectifying its GST return for July to September 2017, reported CNBC-TV18.

In May 2020, a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court allowed the telecom major to seek GST refunds and also directed the government to verify the excess GST claim. The high court directed the government to verify the excess GST claim within two weeks of the order and refund the amount to Bharti Airtel.

In July 2020, the Centre moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi HC order of grant of refund.

While authorities claimed Bharti Airtel had under-reported input tax credit from July to September 2017, the telco said it had paid excess tax of Rs 9.23 billion on inputs based on estimates since the GSTR-2A form was not operational during the error period.

In other development, Bharti Airtel is estimated to have garnered over Rs 5,200 crore from the first round of payment in its recently-concluded rights issue, as the telco’s special committee approved allotment of 39.2 crore equity shares to eligible applicants. The applicants paid Rs 133.75 per share on application, with the balance sum to be paid in two more additional calls as may be decided by the board, the company has said in a regulatory filing.


“…the special committee of directors for rights issue, at its meeting held today…approved the allotment of 392,287,662 rights equity shares to the eligible applicants, with Rs 133.75 paid on application and balance to be paid in two more additional calls…,” the filing said. This implies that Airtel has raised an estimated Rs 5,243 crore from the initial tranche.

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