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NEW DELHI: India has not received any formal proposal from Cairn Energy Plc. for settling an ongoing dispute related to an arbitration award, minister of state for finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Chaudhary said the arbitral tribunal which has its seat in The Hague had pronounced its award last December in favour of the British energy company and its arm Cairn UK Holdings Ltd. It asked India to pay Cairn an award amount of $1232.8 million plus interest and $22.38 million towards arbitration and legal costs, the minister informed the lower House of Parliament.

The minister’s response indicated the willingness to settle the dispute, but within existing legal architecture. “No formal proposal for a solution within the country’s legal framework has been received in this regard," the minister said in a written reply.

India’s dispute with Cairn is over an internal re-organisation of the company’s India business in 2006-07 prior to its initial public offering. The tax demand was raised by invoking a 2012 change in the Income Tax Act that took retroactive effect.

Chaudhary also said an order has been passed by a French court freezing certain Indian government properties in the case pertaining to Cairn Energy. The same has been communicated through diplomatic channels, the minister said.

Cairn is seeking to enforce the arbitration award by taking over India’s overseas assets. Mint had reported on 8 July that the Indian government has vowed to vigorously defend its case in the tax battle with Cairn Energy and take “appropriate legal remedies" against the court order secured by the British explorer to freeze certain Indian assets in Paris.

In a response to an emailed query, Cairn Energy said that the company prefers an amicable settlement. “Our strong preference remains an agreed, amicable settlement with the Government of India to draw this matter to a close," it said.

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