Delhi HC seeks DMRC’s stand on due payment to DAMEPL

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The Delhi High Court has sought the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)’s stand on the due payment to Reliance Infrastructure’s subsidiary DAMEPL, asking how will it make the due payment.

A bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait was hearing the application of the Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) for an early hearing in the matter seeking enforcement of the arbitration award dated May 11, 2017, during which the court asked the DMRC’s counsel to take clear instructions on how it will pay the due amount.

Senior Advocate Parag Tripathi appeared on behalf of DMRC during the course of the hearing on Monday. “On the next date of hearing, I don’t want to hear anything here or there. You have to take clear instructions on how to pay the amount. This liability, that liability will not work otherwise you will face an unpleasant order,” the court told DMRC’s counsel Tripathi.

Recently, the Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) has filed a fresh application requesting the High Court to direct DMRC to deposit Rs 6,208 crore available in its accounts into the project escrow account without any delay. DAMEPL in its fresh application has rejected any out-of-court negotiations or assignment of debt.

DAMEPL says that it wants the execution of arbitral award at the earliest and is not agreeable to any alternate proposal from DMRC. It had also maintained the same position in the Supreme Court, in the last hearing on January 24, 2022.

The Supreme Court in its January 24 order had stated: “The parties are directed to appear before the High Court on 31.01.2022 and seek for advancing the date of hearing. We request the High Court to take up the matter at the earliest and dispose of the application without any further delay, as consequences of the pendency of the said application are detrimental to the interest of the petitioner as well as respondent.”

Pursuant to this SC order, DAMEPL’s fresh application requests the Delhi High Court to fix an early date in the first week of February for the final hearing and disposal of the execution petition.

DAMEPL, in its plea, has stated that the non-payment of Termination Fee since 2013 by DMRC has caused immense damage to DAMEPL and its promoter company, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.

Reliance Infrastructure had infused Rs 2,513 crore to DAMEPL by taking loans from the public sector banks, and the banks have initiated proceedings for liquidation against the company. Any further delay in satisfying the Arbitral Award will result in irreversible consequences for DAMEPL and Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.

The delay in satisfying the arbitral award is adding an incremental daily interest of Rs 1.76 crore per day on DMRC and this amount cumulatively comes to Rs 260 crore, for the period from September 10, 2021 to January 31, 2021.

DAMEPL had filed an execution petition in the Delhi HC on September 12, 2021, seeking court’s directions to DMRC for honouring the SC order and paying Rs 7,200 crore to the company.

DMRC, out of Rs 7,200 crore, has so far paid only Rs 1,000 crore.

The Supreme Court on September 7, 2021, had upheld the arbitration award of Rs 7,200 crore in favour of DAMEPL.

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