Centre confirms French order to freeze Indian assets in Cairn matter

The government has confirmed that a French court has directed the freezing of certain properties of the Indian government in the matter pertaining to the Cairn arbitration award.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, the minister said: “An order has been passed by a French Court freezing certain Indian Government properties in the case pertaining to Cairn Energy.”

The reply came on a question that asked the government whether French Court has ordered to freeze 20 Indian government properties in Paris amounting to Rs 177 crore in a case pertaining to Cairn Energy.

The minister in his reply noted that an arbitral tribunal, in The Hague had pronounced its award on December 21, 2020 in favour of Cairn Energy Plc and Cairn UK Holdings Ltd (CUHL).

The government has filed an appeal against the award in the Hague Court of Appeal on March 22, 2021. For handling enforcement proceedings, an international law firm, with relevant experience, has been engaged, the minister said.

Chaudhary has said that the Indian government, in consultation with its counsel team is taking all appropriate legal steps to protect its interest.

Earlier this month, the finance ministry came in strong defence of reports suggesting Cairn getting French court nod to takeover Indian assets in Paris to recover part of arbitration award, saying that no such communication has been received by it on the matter.

Reports from Paris had indicated that Cairn has secured a French court order to seize about 20 Indian government properties in France to recover a part of the $1.2 billion arbitration award.

The ministry had said that the CEO and the representatives of Cairn have approached the Government of India for discussions to resolve the matter.

“Constructive discussions have been held and the government remains open for an amicable solution to the dispute within the country’s legal framework,” the finance ministry said.