HC orders GP to pay BTRC Tk 1,000cr within Monday
Staff Report :
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the GrameenPhone (GP) to pay Tk 1000 crore to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) from its audit claim of Tk 12,579 crore by Monday.
A seven-member Bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after hearing a petition filed by GrameenPhonne seeking review of the court's earlier order.
The apex court said, GrameenPhone must have to pay the full amount of Tk 20 billion fixed by this court on November 24, 2019 and on this condition the court would give more time to GP for paying the rest amount.
The court, however, fixed the same date (February 24) for passing further order on the review petition.
Advocate AM Amin Uddin and Barrister Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury took part in the hearing on behalf of GrameenPhone while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam in person and Barrister Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib appeared for BTRC.
Earlier on November 24, 2019, the Appellate Division ordered the GrameenPhone to pay Tk 2000 crore within three months from the audit claim by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
If the GrameenPhone fail to pay the amount within the stipulated time then the High Court injunction against the realisation of Tk 125.79 billion by BTRC would be vacated, the apex court added.
Later in January this year GrameenPhone filed a petition seeking review of the apex court's order passed to pay BTRC Tk 2000 crore, which was listed for hearing yesterday.
At one stage of the yesterday's hearing, Advocate AM Amin Uddin prayed to the court for paying Tk 5 billion within the current month and the remaining amount in equal instalments in five months.
Then the Chief Justice said, "If you pay Tk 2000 crore then we will consider for extending the time, otherwise not. It will not be right if you think that the apex court of Bangladesh is a weak court. This is the highest court in the country. We will not reduce the amount any way."
In reply, Amin Uddin said that they needed time till Sunday (February 23) to take a decision on the court's statement. The Chief Justice then said, "No need to talk. We may pass an order to pay the total amount (Tk 20 billion) within one month."
Then GP's lawyer said, "Give us six months for paying the amount. Robi Axiata got five months time to pay Tk 1.2 billion in equal instalments."
The Chief Justice said, "GrameenPhone must have to pay the full amount of Tk 2000 crore fixed by this court on November 24, 2019. Now you (GP) pay Tk 1000 crore within Monday (February 24) and we will pass further order on that day."
On October 17, 2019, the High Court Bench of Justice A K M Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatema Najib issued an ad-interim injunction for two months against the realisation of Tk 12,579 crore from GrameenPhone by BTRC.
Barrister Tanim Hussain Shawon who appeared in the High Court for GP said that BTRC on April 2, 2019, demanded Tk 12579 crore from GP in 27 items illogically.
Then GP filed an application with a Dhaka court seeking directive so that BTRC does not realise 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 a petition with the Appellate Division against the High Court order of issuing injunction upon the realisation of BTRC claim. After hearing the leave petition, the apex court disposed of the matter on November 24, 2019.
Later in January this year GrameenPhone filed a petition seeking review of the apex court's order passed to pay BTRC Tk 2000 crore.