The country's largest telecommunications operator Grameenphone has claimed that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is forcing them to pay an "illegal audit claim" worth Tk12,579.95 crore.
"The BTRC's principal claim of Tk2,300 crore is also incorrect," commented Grameenphone's Chief Executive Officer Michael Patrick Foley told the journalists in Dhaka.
Foley said: "The BTRC is trying to collect money, that doesn't belong to it, by intimidating us with unwarranted measures."
"For every Tk100 we earn, we pay Tk54 to the government. And since our inception, we have contributed Tk73,100 crore to the national exchequer," he elaborated.
The BTRC is now more interested in settling things in court, claimed Foley.
"We fully support the process and key principles discussed in the meeting on October 21 among the Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, MOPT, BTRC, NBR, GP and Robi. But the BTRC has chosen to disregard the ICT adviser's directions," said Foley.
However, the BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque said, "Grameenphone is more litigious as it went to the court first when we claimed the dues based on the audit report. Now it is blaming us as the court has asked them to pay the 'public money'.
"We will accept whatever the verdict is," Jahurul said.
On April 2, the telecom regulator demanded Tk12,579.95 crore from Grameenphone over irregularities in 27 items, prompting the company to seek legal actions.
On July 29, Grameenphone sought the High Court order to resolve the claim through arbitration.
On August 28, a lower court rejected Grameenphone's plea for a temporary injunction on the BTRC. So, the telecom company filed an appeal challenging the lower court order.
Now the issue is under the jurisdiction of the Appellate Division and November 14 is the due date for the next hearing.