devas antrix case: Devas investors urge US court to deny India’s bid to stall arbitration award
The investors, which include Devas (Mauritius) Ltd, Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt. Ltd. and Telecom Devas Ltd, argued that the motion to dismiss the suit was “India’s latest effort to avoid its obligations”.
The submission came in response to a motion filed by India in The United States District Court for The District of Columbia to dismiss an ongoing suit, arguing that the court did not have jurisdiction under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
“India government’s latest legal gambit is to argue for delay…attack investors in Devas and evade payment of three lawful international arbitration awards,” said Jay Newman, senior advisor to Devas’s shareholders. “Courts and tribunals everywhere outside India have ruled in Devas’ favour. No one will be fooled, nor deceived, by the Indian government’s actions.”
Earlier this month, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) dismissed a petition by shareholders of Devas Multimedia challenging an order of the Bengaluru bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which had directed that the satellite company be wound up, following a plea by the Indian space agency’s commercial arm, Antrix, that the deal between it and Devas was fraught with fraud.
ET reported on August 18 that the US District Court for the Western District of Washington had ordered Antrix to furnish information, including documents showing any transfer of assets, money and business contracts from Antrix to NewSpace India Ltd—the commercial arm of the Department of Space—to Devas’ shareholders and the court, by September 17.
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Judge Thomas S. Zilly had upheld that the shareholders of Devas had a legal right to enforce the award, which the Indian government and Antrix have been disputing ever since it placed Devas in liquidation to avoid paying cumulative arbitral awards worth $1.3 billion (including interest and other costs).
“India government’s liability has been confirmed by nine arbitrators and two levels of courts at the seat of the arbitration. Having lost three separate arbitrations, (the) India (n) government now is turning to its own courts to pursue baseless attacks against Devas’s highly respected US investors,” said Matthew D. McGill, partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is the lead counsel for a number of Devas’s shareholders.