Arbitration case: Cairn digs in heels, PSBs say ready for authorized battle


Indian public sector banks with substantial presence overseas are legally able to mount a problem overseas to counter any efforts by to connect their belongings. The event comes on the again of saying on Tuesday that it was taking all needed motion to entry the $1.7 billion it was awarded by the worldwide tribunal after overturning the retroactive tax demand slapped by the Indian authorities.

On condition that deposits with abroad branches is public cash and never a sovereign asset, attaching funds in such accounts is past the realm of rights of the mentioned firm, mentioned folks within the know.

Senior PSB chiefs mentioned that the federal government had warned them of the potential for Cairn attaching funds, and had requested the lenders to maintain them (the federal government) knowledgeable. The federal government has nominated an individual for immediate and co-ordinated response. The banks’ stand is evident — deposits cash is just not authorities cash. It’s prospects’ cash. So how can they connect it? In case one thing occurs, banks will struggle it legally, mentioned the PSB chief cited above.

Apart from authorized recommendation, banks are in contact with Indian embassies and excessive commissions internationally to pursue issues.

Authorized boards overseas will hear the banks’ aspect too, earlier than giving a ruling on any attachment plea (by Cairn Vitality).

The Scottish agency had invested within the oil and gasoline sector in India in 1994 and a decade later it made an enormous oil discovery in Rajasthan.

In 2006 it listed its Indian belongings on the BSE. 5 years after that the federal government handed retroactive tax regulation and billed Cairn Rs 10,247 crore plus curiosity and penalty for the reorganisation tied to the flotation.

The state then expropriated and liquidated Cairn’s remaining shares within the Indian entity, seized dividends and withheld tax refunds to recuperate part of the demand.

Cairn challenged the transfer earlier than an tribunal in The Hague (Netherlands), which in December awarded it $1.2 billion (over Rs 8,800 crore) plus prices and curiosity, which totalled $1.725 billion (Rs 12,600 crore) as of December 2020.

“In December final 12 months the tribunal established to rule on our declare towards the Authorities of India present in Cairn’s favour and awarded us damages of $1.2 billion plus curiosity and prices,” CEO mentioned at firm annual shareholders assembly.

This ruling, he mentioned, is binding and enforceable beneath worldwide treaty regulation.

“While India has sought to problem the idea of the award by means of set-aside proceedings within the Dutch courts, we stay assured of our place and proceed constructive engagement with the Authorities of India while on the similar time taking all needed actions to guard our rights to the award and entry the worth of it as early as doable,” he added.

Whereas he didn’t elaborate, Cairn had beforehand threatened to grab abroad belongings of state-controlled Indian corporations to recuperate the cash because of it.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had final month reiterated that worldwide ruling on India’s sovereign proper to taxation units the improper precedent, however had mentioned that the federal government is taking a look at how greatest it might type out the difficulty.

The federal government, which participated within the worldwide arbitration introduced by the Scottish agency towards being taxed retrospectively, has appealed towards The Hague-based tribunal’s ruling directing the federal government to return the worth of shares expropriated and liquidated, tax refunds withheld, and dividend seized to recuperate the wrongly levied retroactive tax.

The federal government argues that tax levied by a sovereign energy shouldn’t be topic to personal arbitration, Cairn had beforehand mentioned the award is binding and it might implement it by seizing abroad Indian belongings.

Cairn has been engaged with the finance ministry to get the federal government to pay the award.

Its officers held three nose to nose conferences with the then Income Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey in February and at the very least one video name along with his successor Tarun Bajaj.

PTI had reported that the corporate had within the conferences provided to forego $500 million out of the $1.7 billion award and make investments that quantity in any oil and gasoline or renewable power undertaking recognized by the federal government after rejecting a authorities provide to receives a commission simply one-fourth of the award.

It needs the principal of USD 1.2 billion because of it’s paid and the curiosity and price will be re-invested in India.

The Indian authorities, which appointed one of many three arbitrators on The Hague panel and absolutely participated within the arbitration proceedings since 2015, wished Cairn to settle the difficulty by means of its now-closed tax dispute decision scheme Vivad se Vishwas.

Vivad se Vishwas scheme, which closed on March 31, supplied for dropping of tax case if 50 per cent of the demand was paid, which the corporate rejected, sources within the know of the event mentioned.

Even when it had been to have agreed to the scheme, the Indian authorities needed to refund about Rs 2,500 crore to the British agency, they mentioned, including the worth of shares seized and bought, dividend confiscated and tax refund withheld totalled to over Rs 7,600 crore, which was greater than 50 per cent of the Rs 10,247 crore principal tax demand raised.

Cairn, which is of the opinion that the unanimous ruling of the tribunal was enforceable towards Indian-owned belongings in additional than 160 international locations which have signed and ratified the 1958 New York Conference on the Recognition and Enforcement of Overseas Arbitral Awards, has employed asset-tracing corporations to research the abroad belongings that could possibly be seized to recuperate the quantity due.

Cairn has already taken steps to have the arbitration award recognised in 9 main jurisdictions such because the US, UK, France, the Netherlands, Singapore and Canada’s Quebec province, the place Indian sovereign belongings have been recognized.

It hasn’t mentioned what it’d go after however belongings may embrace Air India’s planes, vessels belonging to the Transport Company of India and property owned by state banks.

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