POST TIME: 24 February, 2020 12:11:34 AM
GP pays Tk 1,000 crore to BTRC

GP pays Tk 1,000 crore to BTRC

After a prolonged battle with the regulator, Grameenphone (GP), the country's largest telecom operator, yesterday paid Tk. 1,000 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) over its disputed audit claim. A four-member team, led by GP’s regulatory affairs head Hossain Sadat, submitted the pay order to BTRC chairman Jahurul Haque at the BTRC office in the capital.

Lauding GP’s move to pay the dues, post and telecommunications minister Mostafa Jabbar yesterday told The Independent he hopes GP will gradually pay all of its dues to the BTRC. BTRC chairman Jahurul Haque also welcomed GP’s move and thanked the operator for complying with the court’s order.

On Friday, the Norwegian Telenor Group subsidiary, which controls 54.8 per cent of GP, had informed the media that the company would pay Tk. 1,000 crore to telecom regulator BTRC on Sunday. GP deposited the money following the order of the Appellate Division on the company's review petition.

On Thursday, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered the mobile carrier to pay Tk. 1,000 crore and return to the court on Monday. The order was issued in response to a review petition filed by GP on January 26 seeking permission to pay Tk. 575 crore in 12 equal instalments.

The review petition was filed after the apex court had directed GP on November 24 last year to pay Tk. 2,000 crore to the BTRC within three months (by February 23) against the claim

of Tk. 12,579.96 crore determined by an audit.

The legal counsellor to both parties said the court would now hear the petition and issue an order. GP reiterated that it disputed the validity of the BTRC audit claim and that this deposit should not be seen as an admission of liability.

In a statement issued on Friday, signed by GP’s external communications head Md Hasan, GP stated that it respects the legal system of Bangladesh and the SC’s direction, and that it looks forward to getting court protection from the pressure the BTRC has applied to the company and its management.

The statement adds: “The BTRC has applied several actions to restrict GP’s operations, including declining no objection certificates, issuing show cause notices for license cancellation, denying recycling of number series, and threatening the company through the appointment of an administrator.” On January 10, the second-largest telecom operator of the country, Robi, had deposited Tk. 27.60 crore as their first payment of five instalments towards the telecom regulator’s claim against audit findings