NEW DELHI: Devas Multimedia has seized liquid assets worth Rs 1.1 crore of Antrix Corporation held in the US after an American court allowed the former to do so to enforce a $1.2 billion arbitration award. The Eastern District Court of Virginia has granted Devas Multimedia to seize $145,000 of assets of Antrix Corporation, a government of India-owned company.
Devas Multimedia had won an arbitration award of $1.2 billion after the Indian government terminated its satellite deal with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in 2011.
Agency reports have quoted a lawyer representing Antrix Multimedia, confirming the seizure. Matthew D McGrill, who represented Devas in the US court, has been quoted by agencies as saying: “The seizure of Antrix assets sends a clear message: Despite the Modi government’s ... (actions) and transnational repression against Mr Viswanathan, the shareholders of Devas will not waver in their pursuit to collect what they are rightfully owed from the Indian government.”
India is seeking the arrest and prosecution of Devas’ co-founder Ramachandran Viswanathan. This newspaper could not reach out to McGill. Devas had entered into an agreement with Antrix to provide high-speed data services. However, in 2011 Antrix cancelled the deal after the central government decided against allowing slots in S-Band for commercial activities.
This forced Devas to move to the International Chamber of Commerce Arbitral Tribunal in the Netherlands. Two of its shareholders also initiated arbitration under India-Mauritius and Indo-German Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). Later Antrix moved NCLT petitioning for winding up of Devas after it alleged fraudulent activities by shareholders of the latter.