New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday directed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to take over servicing of all debt liabilities of the Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra) unit, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd. (DAMEPL), in connection with the construction, operation and maintenance of the Airport Metro Express Line project, amounting to Rs1,618 crore.
The court further directed Axis bank, one of the eleven project lenders to provide DMRC with the “exact figure of dues" payable by DAMEPL to the lenders.
A bench comprising Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar passed the interim order while hearing DMRC’s appeal against a 6 March order of a single judge bench of the high court which had upheld a May 2017 arbitral award against DMRC, directing it to pay Rs2,950 crore as compensation, along with interest to the RInfra unit.
The bench clarified that the interim order was subject to the final outcome of the appeal and DMRC would be liable to pay the interest on the amount due to project lenders, in case the appeal did not succeed.
While upholding the arbitral award, the single judge bench had asked DMRC to deposit 75% of the amount awarded under the arbitral award “directly" with project lenders—in the escrow account maintained with them in four weeks.
DMRC and DAMEPL had entered into an agreement for construction, operation and maintenance of a high speed metro rail line that intended to operate between New Delhi Metro and Dwarka Sector 21 via IGI Airport Terminal-3, over a stretch of 23km, known as the Airport Metro Express Line project.
The agreement was, however, terminated by DAMEPL after DMRC failed to rectify certain defects in the civil structure of the project, which “severely impaired the performance of the obligations of DAMEPL under the Concession Agreement." Subsequently, DAMEPL invoked the arbitration clause in the agreement for compensation which was granted in May 2017.
The matter would be next heard by the division bench in July on a day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile, DAMEPL’s plea for execution of the arbitral award was put on hold by the high court till the pendency of the appeal before the division bench.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.