The Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) has filed a fresh application requesting Delhi High Court to direct Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) to deposit Rs 6,208 crores available in its various bank accounts into the project escrow account without any delay.
DAMEPL, in its fresh application, has rejected any out of court negotiations/settlement or assignment of debt to the DMRC. DAMEPL plea states, “The Decree Holder is not agreeable to settling the matter out of the Court. Accordingly, no alternate proposal by DMRC is acceptable to Decree Holder and that it presses for the execution on merits at the earliest.”
The plea further states that the delay in payment by DMRC is causing immense prejudice to DAMEPL and its Promoter, Reliance Infrastructure Limited. In case the reliefs as sought for are not granted, the Decree Holder shall suffer irreparable loss and injury.
DAMEPL had also mentioned the same position in the Supreme Court, in the last hearing on January 24, 2022. Following the Supreme Court January 24 directive, the Delhi High Court will be hearing the Delhi Airport Metro-DMRC Case tomorrow January 31.
The SC, in its January 24 order, had stated, “The parties are directed to appear before the High Court on January 31, 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 Delhi High Court to fix an early date in the first week of February for the final hearing and disposal of the execution petition.
Reliance Infrastructure had infused Rs 2513 crores to DAMEPL by taking loans from 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 crores per day on DMRC and this amount cumulatively comes to Rs 260 crores, for the period from September 10, 2021, to January 31, 2021.
Earlier, 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 pay Rs 7,200 crores to the company. DMRC, out of Rs 7200 crores, has so far paid only Rs 1000 crores.
The Supreme Court (SC), on 7 September 2021, had upheld the arbitration award of Rs 7,200 crores in favour of DAMEPL.
The Delhi High Court earlier remarked that Anil Ambani owned Reliance Infrastructure and its subsidiary, Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), is playing hide and seek with the Court and has not come before it with clean hands.
The remarks came while Justice Suresh Kumar Kait was hearing an execution petition filed by DAMEPL seeking enforcement of the arbitration award of Rs 7200 crore that it won against the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The award has also been upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Bench however said that whenever the DAMEPL comes before the Court, they have a different stand while they continue to have a discussion with DMRC outside the Court and listed the case for further hearing on March 29.
In 2008, DAMEPL had entered into a contract with DMRC for running the airport metro line till 2038. As disputes arose between the parties, DAMEPL stopped operating the metro on the airport line and invoked the arbitration clause against DMRC alleging violation of contract, and sought a termination fee.