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$111-mn award: Devas investors knock at US court for confirmation

The Mauritius-based entities approached the US court for the District of Columbia on January 13 for confirmation of an initial July 26, 2016 merit award and a final October 13, 2020 compensation award of $111,296,000 made by the UNCITRAL tribunal in favor of Devas investors.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 19, 2021 3:56:52 am
Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt Ltd held a 3.5 per cent stake in the startup firm.

Three Mauritius-based entities, which invested in the Indian space start-up Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd on the back of a 2005 satellite launch deal with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation, have filed a plea in a US federal court seeking confirmation of a compensation of over $111 million awarded by an United Nations Commission on International Trade Law tribunal on October 13, 2020, over the February 2011 cancellation of the deal by India.

The three Mauritius-based entities, CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd, Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt Ltd, and Telecom Devas Mauritius Limited, that have sought confirmation of the UNCITRAL tribunal award were early investors in Devas Multimedia, a firm started in Bengaluru in 2004-05 by former ISRO officials and US-based telecom entrepreneurs.

Earlier, on October 27, 2020, a US federal court had confirmed a $1.2 billion compensation awarded to Devas Multimedia by an arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce over the cancellation of the 2005 agreement between Devas Multimedia and ISRO’s Antrix Corporation.

The implementation of this compensation order issued against Antrix Corporation by the US court for the western district of Washington on the basis of a September 14, 2015 ICC tribunal award has been kept in abeyance by the Supreme Court of India through a November 4, 2020 order.

The Mauritius-based entities approached the US court for the District of Columbia on January 13 for confirmation of an initial July 26, 2016 merit award and a final October 13, 2020 compensation award of $111,296,000 made by the UNCITRAL tribunal in favor of Devas investors.

Two of the Mauritius firms were created by foreign equity firms Columbia Capital and Telcom Ventures who bought 17 percent share each in Devas Multimedia when the 2005 Devas-Antrix deal to launch two ISRO satellites for Devas to provide multimedia broadband service to mobile handsets was alive. Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt Ltd held a 3.5 per cent stake in the startup firm.

The Mauritius investors in Devas Multimedia have, in their plea in the US federal court, said that they “seek recognition and confirmation of a final, binding arbitration award dated October 13, 2020, entitled ‘award on quantum’ made in petitioners’ favor against the Republic of India pursuant to the Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and the Government of the Republic of India for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.”

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