The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s appeal against release of Rs60 crore payable as interest to Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), a subsidiary of ADAG’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. While dismissing the appeal, a bench headed by DY Chandrachud gave DMRC one week’s time to make the payment. DMRC had challenged the Delhi High Court’s June 7 order that asked it to pay Rs60 crore as three months interest to a lender of Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd, a former concessionaire for airport express line. The HC had upheld its single judge order asking it to pay the three months interest to DAMEPL. The single judge had in its interim order of May 30 asked the DMRC to deposit the interest amount within 10 days directly into DAMEPL’s loan account with Axis Bank, the main lender, after DAMEPL had sought early payment of Rs3,502 crore, which is 75% of the arbitral award of Rs4,670 crore, granted in its favour on May 11. DAMEPL had claimed that it was paying Rs65 lakh per day to its lenders, comprising public and other banks, since the termination of its agreement with DMRC to run the Airport Metro line.
DMRC has opposed maintainability of the plea for enforcement of the award which was granted in favour of the concessionaire by a unanimous decision of a three-member arbitration tribunal on May 11. The dispute was referred to arbitration in August 2013 after efforts to amicably resolve the issues did not yield results. The Airport Express line was commissioned on February 23, 2011 after an investment of Rs2,885 crore funded by DAMEPL’s promoters’ fund, banks and financial institutions. According to DAMEPL’s plea, the concession agreement was entered into between the two on August 25, 2008.
In 2012, Reliance Infrastructure, which had the contract to develop and operate the metro express project in the capital, terminated the contact citing DMRC had failed to fix the civil structure defects in the project. According to the petition, the agreement was with effect from January 1, 2013 and the project was handed over to the DMRC on June 30, 2013. Till handing over of the project, the DAMEPL had operated the line as a deemed agent of DMRC, it said.