The highest levels in the government have taken note of these cases(Reuters)
The highest levels in the government have taken note of these cases(Reuters)

Arbitration victors push for recovery

  • Two separate cases to enforce arbitration awards—one initiated by British oil firm Cairn Energy Plc and the other by three Mauritius-incorporated entities in their dispute with Indian government-owned Antrix Corp.—are at different stages in courts.
Livemint | By Gireesh Chandra Prasad, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2021 03:54 AM IST

Winners of international arbitration awards are circling the assets of the Indian government to recover at least $2.4 billion as court cases to enforce them reach the final stages. The outcome of these cases is crucial, as it could have a bearing on other ongoing arbitration cases.

Two separate cases to enforce arbitration awards—one initiated by British oil firm Cairn Energy Plc and the other by three Mauritius-incorporated entities in their dispute with Indian government-owned Antrix Corp.—are at different stages in courts.

In February, the US District Court for Columbia issued a notice to the Indian government on a petition filed by Cairn Energy Plc and Cairn UK Holdings Ltd for enforcement of the arbitral award, court documents showed. In this case, the award is for $1.2 billion—plus interest and cost.

The recovery of arbitration award pursued by Devas (Mauritius) Ltd, Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt. Ltd and Telecom Devas Mauritius Ltd is $562.5 million with interest. On November 4, 2020, the Supreme Court said the total liability under this award appears to be around $1.2 billion. The apex court also noted that a US court has confirmed the arbitral award and allowed the Delhi high court to hear objections to its enforcement filed by Antrix Corp., court documents showed. An email sent to Antrix Corp. remained unanswered till press time.

The highest levels in the government have taken note of these cases, an official said on condition of anonymity, given their huge financial implications and the questions they raise on India’s obligations, policies and rights, including taxation.

Emails sent to the finance ministry and senior government officials on Friday remained unanswered till press time. Officials remained hesitant to comment on the arbitration awards, given that public statements of senior government functionaries may be cited during in courts.

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