Air India to US Court: With Tatas now, not Alter Ego of Government

Anushka Sharma –

Published On: November 23, 2021 at 13:20 IST

Air India, which is being bought by the Tata Group, has asked a US Federal Court to put a stop to efforts by foreign investors in Bengaluru start-up Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd to seize the assets of the public sector carrier in order to recover compensation awards made against the state-run ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, over a failed 2005 Devas-Antrix satellite deal.

Air India has asked the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to stay and dismiss efforts by three Mauritius-based Devas Multimedia investors and German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom to identify Air India as an alter ego of the Indian government in order to recover compensation awards made by international tribunals against ISRO’s Antrix Corp over the failed 2005 satellite deal.

Air India has informed a US court that it has entered into a ‘Share purchase’ arrangement with Tata Sons, with the sale expected to completion by the end of 2021 or 2022, and that Air India will no longer be a government asset or an alter ego of the Indian government.

“India’s sale of Air India will not impair — much less destroy — the Court’s ability to grant Plaintiffs effective relief,” the Devas investors stated in a November 15 letter to the US federal Court through legal representatives.

 “Air India suggests that its sale to Tata Group will eliminate any possibility that Air India could remain an alter ego of India. Even if that were true as a factual matter — and it is not necessarily so — Air India is looking ahead, whereas the Law looks back.”

Following an arbitration process over alleged violations by the Indian government of a bilateral investment treaty with Mauritius, a Tribunal of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law awarded Mauritius investors in Devas Multimedia a $111 million settlement on October 13, 2020.

Earlier this year, CC/Devas Mauritius, Telcom Devas Mauritius, and Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt Ltd, and later Deutsche Telekom, filed a Petition in the Southern District of New York asking the Court to declare Air India an alter ego of India and allow attachment of Air India properties in order to enforce payment of compensation awarded to investors by International Tribunals.

Related Post