'Not received notice from any French Court': Finance Ministry counters reports of Cairn Energy seizing Indian properties

Hours after news reports indicated that Britain's Cairn Energy Plc has secured a French court order to seize some 20 government properties in Paris, the Finance Ministry has issued a clarification of sorts. According to updates shared on Twitter, the Indian government has not received any communication from the court in question.

The seizure is part of efforts to USD 1.7 billion due from New Delhi following an arbitration panel overturning levy of retrospective taxes. The centrally located properties mostly comprise of flats, valued at more than EUR 20 million, were used by Indian government establishment in France, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told the news agency.

According to a PTI news report, the Tribunal judiciaire de Paris had on June 11 agreed to Cairn's application to freeze (through judicial mortgages) residential real estate owned by the Government of India in central Paris. Legal formalities for the same were reportedly completed on Wednesday evening.

"Government is trying to ascertain the facts, and whenever such an order is received, appropriate legal remedies will be taken, in consultation with its Counsels, to protect the interests of India," the Finance Ministry said while acknowledging reports of the seizure or freeze.

"Government has already filed an application on March 22, 2021 to set aside the December 2020 international arbitral award in The Hague Court of Appeal. Government of India will vigorously defend its case in Set Aside proceedings at The Hague," explained a follow-up tweet.

According to the Ministry, the CEO and the representatives of Cairn have held "constructive" discussions with the Indian government to resolve the matter."The Government remains open for an amicable solution to the dispute within the country’s legal framework," it added.

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