The United States District Court for the District of Columbia confirmed a $132-million award awarded to Deutsche Telekom against the Republic of India. The German company had petitioned the court to confirm this award even as India countered this petition to get the award dismissed.

This was awarded by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration, after it found that India was in violation of the bilateral investment treaty signed between Germany and India. The reason that India was found to be in violation of the treaty was the fact that it had the Indian government terminate a spectrum deal between state-owned Antrix and Devas in 2011. Deutsche Telekom was a shareholder in Devas. 

DT has sought enforcement of this award in the US. India tried to dismiss this petition on two fronts. Firstly, that the US was not the appropriate jurisdiction to enforce this award, or “forum non conveniens,” The court declined this dismissal. 

It also argued that DT did not have sufficient evidence to claim this award. However, DT met its burden of proof under the BIT. 

“DT has met its burden of production. It has supplied copies of the BIT. DT’s notice of arbitration against India and the arbitral panel’s decision,” the court found. 

Arbitral awards

Multiple shareholders of Devas are pursuing arbitral awards against the Indian government in various jurisdictions internationally. Certain Antrix assets have already been seized in the US, and certain assets of the Indian government have also been seized in France and Canada. 

Indian courts have dismissed some of these awards, including a $1-billion award against the government enforced by the ICC. The Supreme Court of India acknowledged that the reason for the dismissal of these awards is the fraudulent incorporation of Devas.