US court recognises NCLT appointed liquidator as Devas representative

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 17, 2021

Directs liquidator to appoint legal counsel

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Washington has recognised the liquidator appointed by the Bengaluru Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal as the representative of Devas Multimedia in the ongoing litigation against Antrix Corporation.

The liquidator’s address was ordered to be listed as Devas’ address replacing the address of its Mauritius shareholders. However, the US court has granted the US subsidiary of Devas, and its Mauritius shareholders’ motion to intervene in the appeal. The US court has directed the liquidator to appoint its legal counsel for the case within 45 days of the order.


Strengthens India’s position

According to legal experts, the decision by the US court strengthens India’s position in the long-standing dispute. “The US court’s decision in effect further recognises the legality of the NCLT action in an international court. However, it will be important for the liquidator to appoint legal counsel soon. If the liquidator fails to do so then Devas shareholders can claim to represent the company once again,” said a legal expert.

This comes even as the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea filed by Devas Multimedia against liquidation of the company. The Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian declined to issue an interim order and asked Devas to go back to the NCLAT where its appeal is pending.

Antrix was represented by Attorney General K K. Venugopal, Solicitor General. Tushar Mehta,  Additional Solicitor General N. Venkataraman with the assistance of Chandrasekhar Bharathi, and Chinmoy Roy. Devas was represented by Harish Salve, PS Raman, and assisted by DMD advocates.

In May, the Bengaluru Bench of NCLT had ordered the liquidation of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd while declaring that the company was incorporated in a fraudulent manner to carry out unlawful purposes. The order also stated that its management is continuing to resort to fraudulent activities in relation to its 2005 controversial contract to get bandwidth from Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial arm. According to sources, the Government may continue to push the fraud angle in other hearings related to the 10-year long dispute.

The original dispute between Antrix and Devas is related to a satellite deal that was scrapped by the Indian agency. The story was first reported by BusinessLine.

Published on June 16, 2021

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