Delhi HC sets aside tribunal award directing Antrix to pay Devas $562 mln

Antrix had approached the court, seeking to set aside the award of 2015 passed by the arbitral tribunal constituted by the International Chamber of Commerce, allowing the claim of Devas Multimedia.

AgenciesUpdated: Monday, August 29, 2022, 06:35 PM IST
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The Delhi High Court today set aside an arbitral tribunal award that had directed Antrix Corp to pay $562.2 mln to Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, staying the recovery proceedings launched by Devas.

Antrix had approached the court, seeking to set aside the award of 2015 passed by the arbitral tribunal constituted by the International Chamber of Commerce, allowing the claim of Devas Multimedia.

The international body had directed the payment of damages of $562.2 mln by Antrix to Devas. Antrix had entered into agreements with Devas Multimedia in 2005 for various services that dealt with cutting-edge technologies.

The agreement was referred to as "agreement for the lease of space segment capacity on ISRO/Antrix S-Band spacecraft by DEVAS".

Antrix, an arm of Indian Space Research Organisation, shelved the agreements in 2011, citing a government decision. Devas refused to accept the termination and instead claimed specific performance of the contract. In the alternative, it claimed damages to the tune of $1.6 bln. In 2011, Devas filed a request for arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

In January 2021, Antrix sought the winding up of Devas Multimedia on grounds of fraud by the management, and the corporate affairs ministry agreed to the idea. Subsequently, the National Company Law Tribunal directed the winding up of Devas Multimedia and appointed a provisional liquidator for the purpose.

In its order, the tribunal also said Devas Multimedia was incorporated with a fraudulent motive to collude and connive with the then officials of Antrix Corp. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal had reiterated the tribunal's decision.

The Supreme Court, in January this year, upheld the winding up of Devas Multimedia, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the earlier orders of the National Company Law Tribunal, and the appellate tribunal upholding the same.

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