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Devas will continue to collect India’s overseas assets

January 25, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Last week Devas Multimedia was ordered by India’s Supreme Court to be wound up. Devas is, however, determined to use the positive backing of various non-Indian courts and tribunals to be justified in pursuing its $1.2 billion (€1.06bn) compensation claim against Antrix, the former subsidiary of India Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Matthew McGill, a partner of law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and lead-counsel for many Devas shareholders, says the Supreme Court’s decision does not change anything. “The flimsy allegations of fraud (against Devas) will never stand up in courts outside India. A better approach for the Modi government would be to return to the negotiating table and continue with settlement talks.”

Devas has already secured an approval of a court in France to freeze India’s property assets in Paris, and also a similar action over Indian funds in Canada.

A Devas spokesman, quoted by Indian media, confirmed that it had entered liens or obtained seizure or garnishment orders on tens of millions of dollars of India’s assets including about $23 millions of Air India assets held by IATA.

“We will continue to identify and seize state assets wherever we find them until India returns to the negotiating table in good faith.”

The spokesman added that courts around the world would see through the “sham” Indian actions.

Devas Multimedia has launched an arbitration against the cancellation of the 2005 agreement with the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC). Two separate arbitrations have also been initiated under the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) by the Mauritian investors of Devas Multimedia under the India-Mauritius BIT and by Deutsche Telekom – a shareholder in Devas – under the India-Mauritius BIT.

India lost all three disputes.

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