Antrix-Devas satellite deal: Hague tribunal rules against govt

By: | Updated: July 27, 2016 6:53 AM

While PCA hearings on the quantum of damages are to start soon now that the case of expropriation has been settled, a third case of damages is also pending arbitration.

satelite-PTI-LThe first arbitral award by the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitral arm, in September 2015, was for 2 million (PTI)

The government suffered its second blow in the Antrix-Devas satellite deal that was cancelled in February 2011, with an arbitration tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that the government’s decision to get Isro arm Antrix to terminate its agreement constituted an act of expropriation, according to a release issued by Devas Multimedia on Tuesday.

The first arbitral award by the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitral arm, in September 2015, was for $672 million — the case is in a local court with Antrix challenging the award and Devas asking for the award to be executed.

While PCA hearings on the quantum of damages are to start soon now that the case of expropriation has been settled, a third case of damages is also pending arbitration.

The ICC case was filed by Devas against Antrix while the PCA case has been filed by Devas’ shareholders that include US investors Columbia Capital and Telecom Ventures. As the firm was based in Mauritius, the case was filed under the Indo-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and is against the Indian government. Another case, by Deutsche Telekom, another investor in the consortium, is also pending at PCA.

Meanwhile, since there are several cases filed against the government, including those by Vodafone and Cairn on the retrospective tax legislation, the government has come out with a new BIT that excludes taxation cases — cases like Antrix-Devas will, however, still be covered by the new BIT even if they are accepted by other countries.

The problem arose when after the CAG estimated the A Raja scam at R1.76 lakh crore it applied the same logic to Antrix-Devas since this was also spectrum.

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