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POST TIME: 15 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
audit dispute
GP agrees to pay Tk 200cr to BTRC
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

GP agrees to pay Tk 200cr
to BTRC

Grameenphone (GP) lawyers yesterday (Thursday) informed the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) that its client (GP) was ready to  initially pay Tk. 200 crore, of the Tk. 12,580 crore in dues, to the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC), in line with the out-of-court settlement reached between the GP and BTRC in the presence of the posts and telecommunication minister and the finance minister.

Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, counsel for GP,  told the court that on October 3 the mobile phone operator and mobile phone regulator decided on  five proposals at a meeting between the GP and BTRC, in the presence of the two ministers.  Among the five proposals, one was payment of Tk. 200 crore by GP to BTRC in two installments on condition that BTRC would remove restrictions imposed on GP.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam vehemently opposed the proposal and told the court that the mobile phone operator should deposit at least 50 per cent of the money claimed. Only then could a discussion take place for payment of the remaining amount, he said. At the same time, the attorney general prayed to the court to stay the High Court order issuing injunction on the BTRC claim.

Earlier in the day, the chief law officer of the state submitted a petition before the apex court on behalf of BTRC,  praying to the SC to order Grameenphone to pay 50 per cent of Tk. 12,580 crore in dues. Later, a six-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, fixed November 18 to pass order on the matter. It would be known on that day how much GP has to pay to BTRC from its dues, lawyers concerned said. On October 31, the Appellate Division wanted to know from GP how much money it could pay now to BTRC and granted two weeks’ time to the mobile phone operator to comply. Subsequently, the case came up on yesterday’s cause list of the apex court.

Advocate AM Aminuddin and Barrister Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury also appeared in court on behalf of GP and barrister Khandaker Reza-e-Raquib for BTRC. On October 17, the HC bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatema Najib issued an ad-interim injunction for two months against realisation of Tk. 125.79 billion from GP by  BTRC. Barrister Tanim Hussain Shawon, who appeared in the HC for GP, said that BTRC, on April 2, had demanded Tk. 125.79 billion from GP in 27 items illogically.