Setting the Record Straight on the Indian Government’s Expropriation of Devas
Next Indian Court Hearing Set for July 8
Today, shareholders and investors of Devas Multimedia – who are currently owed over $1.5bn in compensation from the Indian Government – launch DevasFacts.com as an open and transparent information source about the Indian Government’s expropriation of Devas. The website is a resource for journalists, investors, government officials and other stakeholders to understand the real facts of the case, and the clear risks of investing in India.
The expropriation currently underway by the Indian Government against the company and its American shareholders and investors is for one reason only: to evade payment of three arbitration award(s) that India owes to Devas, as awarded by three separate international arbitration panels.
Devas and its affiliates are currently owed more than US$1.5 billion by the Indian Government, following the Indian government’s decision to wrongfully terminate Devas’ satellite broadcasting contract with Antrix, the marketing arm of India’s national satellite industry.
The launch of this new online resource comes as the Indian National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd., an Indian registered company, liquidated as part of a sophisticated scheme to unlawfully expropriate one of three (“the ICC Award”) arbitration awards in order to evade payment on all three.
An appeal of the NCLT decision is set for July 8 before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). In the meantime, the NCLAT and the Supreme Court of India have refused to stay the liquidation in the intervening period, which is customary in such a situation.
The US Courts are onto the Indian Scheme
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals entered an order granting Devas shareholders and investors the right to intervene as full parties entitled to defend the ICC Award, which was confirmed by Judge Thomas Zilly of the U.S. District Court Western District of Washington in October 2020.
This is significant.
The Indian government scheme focuses on using the NCLT to close down Devas and therefore argue before the U.S. federal courts that Devas no longer existed. This decision throws a curveball at India’s scheme to defraud courts around the world, including the U.S. judiciary.
During the NCLT hearings, the Indian government admits the reason to liquidate is to prevent Devas from “enforcing the ICC Award” which they claim would “abuse the process of law.”
Devas Case Draws International Support
Criticism of India’s expropriation of Devas is spreading globally. In London, multiple Members of Parliament have raised the Devas case, because the Indian government’s actions raise serious questions about whether India is a nation of laws, and whether Western investors are safe there.
Former UK Cabinet Minister, and current MP, in speaking to the Financial Times said, “ “The Indian Government’s willingness to ignore court rulings will only damage its own national interest”.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Conservative MP, Paul Bristow, highlighted that “the resolution of these cases is of fundamental importance”, in reference to the compensation claims of Devas and other companies.
DevasFacts.com will shed light on how India’s recalcitrance towards recognizing the international arbitration rulings, and refusing to respect India’s international treaty commitments, as well as paying Devas, is decimating the country’s image with foreign investors, political leaders, and global media.
Devas and its affiliates are currently owed more than US$1.5 billion by the Government of India, as confirmed by three separate independent international arbitration tribunals, as a result of the Government’s decision to illegally expropriate and breach the company’s due process rights when the Government improperly terminated Devas’ contract with Antrix, the marketing arm of India’s national satellite industry.
In the early 2000s, global pioneers and investors in satellite communications conceived the idea of Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. In January 2005, Devas entered into an Agreement (the ‘Devas Agreement’) with Antrix and its parent the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to build out an innovative hybrid satellite and terrestrial communications service throughout India. This system would have delivered cutting-edge digital multimedia broadcasting service and mobile broadband across India using the S-band spectrum. The project would have brought significant economic and societal advancement for the lives of hundreds of millions of people by ensuring access to high-speed communications and the internet. In February 2011, behind the back of Devas and its investors, the Government of India secretly moved to wrongfully terminate the agreement.