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Devas faces Canadian appeal against award

February 22, 2022

The ongoing legal process between Devas Multimedia and India’s State Research Organisation (ISRO) has suffered something of a set-back in a Canadian court.

Devas Multimedia has won numerous actions against ISRO and its commercial arm Antrix in its claim for $1.2 billion already awarded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and confirmed by the US federal court for the western district of Washington on October 27th 2020.

Devas has pursued overseas assets of the Indian government including cash held by Air India in Canada.

Devas has also achieved an attachment order from a French court for the Indian government’s properties in Paris. On January 8th 2022, they got a ruling from a Superior Court in the Quebec region of Canada to seize 50 per cent of Air India’s funds being held by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA), a Montreal-based trade association for the world’s airlines that facilitates payment of air navigation charges billed to airlines and countries.

However, that Canadian award has now been the subject of an appeal. Judge Christine Baudouin agreed with Air India that the court should take a closer look at the claim brought by three Mauritius investors in Devas and the German telco Deutsche Telekom to identify the airline as an alternative to Government of India to facilitate recovery of compensations awarded by international tribunals over the failed satellite deal.

“Without expressing an opinion on the merits or on the chances of success in appeal, I am satisfied that the present matter is one that should be submitted to the court,” Judge Baudouin wrote in a brief order. She set a hearing in the case for May 13th.

“According to Air India Ltd […] the matter raises a new issue of law, namely: whether the assets of a state-owned company with a distinct legal identity and no involvement in the original claim between the Plaintiffs (Devas shareholders) and the Republic of India, can be validly seized ex parte before judgment in hands of another third party (IATA), to pay the debt of the State itself,” Judge Baudouin wrote in the order.

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