ISRO-Arm Antrix Case: SC rejects Devas Multimedia Plea seeking to restrain liquidator

Kriti Agrawal

The Supreme Court rejects plea filed by Devas Multimedia seeking directions for restraining liquidator from intervening in the pending arbitration procedures before the Delhi High Court.

Devas Multimedia had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking enforcement of a $562.5 million award, plus interest. However, on May 25, the National Company Law Tribunal, Bengaluru Bench, allowed plea brought by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) commercial’s arm, Antrix Corporation Limited, ordering the company’s forceful liquidation and wound up.

Devas Multimedia sought an interim order from the Supreme Court to prevent the liquidator from taking any action while the arbitration was underway, but the Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian refused to hear the case and instead directed the Petitioner to the NCLAT.

According to the Tribunal’s order dated 25 May, Devas was incorporated in a fraudulent way to carry out unlawful goals and its management engaged in fraudulent acts in respect to the commercial contract with Antrix.

The Tribunal found that Antrix’s petition met the requirements for passing a winding-up order against Devas under Section 271-(1)(e) of the Companies Act 2013.

By enforcing the arbitration tribunal award passed by the International Chamber of Commerce against Antrix in 2015, the NCLT has directed the Official Liquidator attached to the High Court of Karnataka to take expeditious steps to liquidate the company in order to prevent it from perpetuating its fraudulent activities and abusing the legal process.

The judgement signed by Rajeshwara Rao Vittanala (Member-Judicial) and Ashutosh Chandra (Member-Technical), also made the following observations that, “Devas was unable to demonstrate a compelling reason why it should not be wound up and its name kept on the Registrar of Companies in Karnataka. The sole reason apparent on record, based on a review of the multiple pleadings addressed in the instant petition, is that it wishes to pursue enforcement of the disputed judgement in the company’s name in the Courts.”

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