The Modi government was quick to start last week with what they claimed was a “Big Win” over Devas.
The Delhi High Court announced it had set aside the $1.3 billion arbitration award state-owned Antrix owes to Devas, claiming the international arbitral award is “tainted by fraud” and “contrary to the fundamental policy of the Indian Law.”
The decision by Delhi High Court, like all the Indian court decisions preceding it, is built upon a standard of evidence that will crumble under scrutiny.
The presiding judge himself, Sanjeev Sachdeva, admits in the ruling that the grounds for setting aside awards were “limited” – but bowing to the whim of Modi, he proceeded to do so anyway.
Put simply, the ruling is yet another in a long line of desperate actions taken by the Modi regime to evade paying its debts. Moreover, this only puts India in a weaker position in an eventual resolution, especially as Devas readies for its new arbitration claim against the Indian government for its audacious evasion scheme.
Lead counsel to Devas shareholders, Matthew D. McGill, has said the ruling is “one more step in India’s calculated destruction of the Devas shareholders’ investment,” and “a mockery of the international arbitration system…” As a result, Devas’ shareholders intend to pursue all of their legal rights available to them to remedy India’s breaches of Indian and international law, including “yet another arbitration claim that will expose their thuggish behavior before a new international tribunal.”
‘The Big Relief’
Indian media referred to the ruling as a “big relief” for the Antrix Corporation and India.
Where are they finding relief?
Will it be during the new arbitration proceedings where, as McGill notes, “Devas shareholders look forward to holding the Indian government to account for its actions yet again before an impartial international tribunal.”
The impartial tribunal will be the true judge of the legality of India’s behavior and their actions will be measured against the standards of international law.
A Pyrrhic Win? Antrix Claims “Truth Has Prevailed”
Esteemed advocate, Rajat Malhotra, signals in the Times of India that India’s “Big Win” perhaps was just a Pyrrhic Win.
Yet, Chinmoy Roy, a spokesperson and counselor for Antrix doesn’t see it this way, instead boasting, “Truth has prevailed. In all likelihood, the court order will also put to rest the frivolous award enforcement action initiated against Antrix by Devas across the globe.”
Clearly, Mr. Roy has not been paying attention to the news.
Devas’ shareholders have secured victories around the globe, including through the seizure of assets in Canada, France and the United States. As McGill reminded Mr. Roy in the Times of India, “Devas currently has over $50 million under seizure in Canada through Airports Authority of India (AAI) and most recently seized over $87,000 worth of Antrix’s cash assets in the Eastern District of Virginia.” There is no end in sight for India, and the enforcement actions will continue around the world until the awards are fully satisfied.
We would be remiss if we did not remind Mr. Roy and his comrades in Delhi, certain officials – known as the “Magnitsky 11” – are facing serious inquiry into their actions that threaten the security and well-being of Devas co-founder Ramachandran Viswanathan.
Frontiers of Freedom, an American NGO dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and businesspersons across the globe, submitted a petition under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act “to enact serious sanctions against 11 Indian officials for alleged human rights abuses committed against.”
In the petition, submitted to the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, Modi’s top officials had their abusive actions exposed to the world and their names made known to some of the United States’ highest-ranking authorities. As counsel and spokesperson, Mr. Roy should inform his employer that the truthis going to prevail when India is forced to answer for its lawless behavior and baseless claims during the proceedings before the impartial tribunal seated for Devas’ new arbitration claim.