The Hindu | 3 January 2022
Devas seizes $6.8 million worth of AAI property in Canada
by Jagriti Chandra
The shareholders had sought the right to seize all sum or moveable property of India and/or AAI being held by the International Air Transport Association
Devas shareholders have seized $6.8 million worth of Airport Authority of India’s (AAI’s) property following permission from a Canadian court.
The shareholders had sought the right to seize all sum or moveable property of India and/or AAI being held by the International Air Transport Association.
A Quebec court held that Airport Authority of India (AAI) is India, in so far as it is an organ of the State of India inseparable from India or is the alter ego of India. As a result, it found the awards of the India-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaty enforceable in Canada.
In 2012, Devas shareholders incorporated in Mauritius moved the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) against India, alleging violation of the obligation to protect shareholder’s interest as guaranteed under the BIT. The PCA ruled in favour of Devas shareholders in 2016 finding India in breach of the obligation to accord fair and equitable treatment leading to unlawful expropriation of Devas’ business. Subsequently, in 2020, the PCA awarded Devas over $111 million, plus interest against India.
“We will pursue the Indian government in courts worldwide to ensure the debts owed to Devas are satisfied. Our action in Canada has resulted in millions of dollars garnished by Devas shareholders, and represents the first fruits of a globally-focused effort to be paid,” Matthew D. McGill, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and lead counsel for several Devas’ shareholders said in a press statement.
“The action by Devas in Canada is just a start. Additional actions are forthcoming that will underscore that India is an unsafe place to invest. No foreign investor should invest in a country where the government can ignore its contractual obligations and deploy its law enforcement agencies to harass and intimidate investors. Using government agencies to launch bogus criminal investigations against Devas will be seen around the world for what it is — an Indian Government willing to debase the country’s reputation by lashing out at its victims rather than paying what it owes them,” said Jay Newman, senior advisor to Devas Shareholders.