Devas Shareholders Target Air India to Enforce Arbitration Awards Against India

Devas’s action comes after SC rejected its plea to restrain liquidator to intervene in pending arbitration case in Delhi High Court.

India, June 29, 2021: Shareholders and investors of Devas Multimedia, today have filed action in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York pursuing assets of Air India to enforce the arbitration award owed by India to Devas and its shareholders. British firm, Cairn Energy had also filed a similar action on May 17 in the same federal court to enforce a different arbitration award.

 This move came days after, Supreme Court turned down its plea to restrain the liquidator from taking any step-in relation to the arbitration pending before the Delhi High Court between Devas and Central government-owned Antrix Corporation. 

According to sources, Matthew D. McGill of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, lead counsel for a number of the shareholders of Devas Multimedia Private Ltd., said, “Given the extraordinary lengths to which India has gone to evade this award, we deem it urgent and essential to begin identifying and securing assets which may be used to facilitate payment. The Devas shareholders have received no response to an offer to negotiate with the Indian government, pending filing of a new arbitration action for damages resulting from the contrived and unsupported prosecution of Devas in Indian courts. Devas will continue to pursue its rights and enforcement actions against India in courts around the world, regardless of the Indian government’s conduct against Devas within its own borders.”


Jay Newman, an internationally recognized expert in sovereign debt enforcement and advisor to Devas shareholders has reportedly said, “India’s efforts to evade payment to Devas, a company backed by many of the world’s most prominent telecom innovators, goes far beyond my previous experience of malfeasance by sovereign governments. Today’s action by Devas is the first of many steps we will take to enforce our arbitration award, and ensure the Indian government pays what is rightfully owed to Devas’s shareholders.”


Devas’s Shareholders’ Filing in Southern District of New York


Devas’s Mauritian shareholders seek the following:


  • To declare that Air India is the alter ego of India and legally indistinct from the Indian government itself.
  • Find that Air India shall be jointly and severally liable for any judgment entered against India.
  • Allow execution, attachment, and other orders as appropriate, including orders for injunctive relief, requiring Air India to satisfy the liability owed to Devas’s shareholders.


Bilateral Investment Treat (“BIT”) Award Enforcement Actions


Devas’s shareholders seek a judgment holding Air India jointly and severally liable to enforce the money judgment that they are owed based upon a petition pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to confirm an arbitration award issued on October 13, 2020 (the BIT Award) against the Indian government.

The BIT Award as to Quantum was made by the UNCITRAL tribunal in The Hague on October 13, 2020 ordering the Government of India to pay the Mauritian shareholders of Devas damages totaling approximately US$160 million including accrued interest. In January 2021, the Mauritian shareholders of Devas sought confirmation of the BIT Award in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. India’s response is due by July 27, 2021.

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air india Devas Multimedia arbitration award

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