Antrix-Devas case: HC imposes ₹5 lakh cost on company for ‘proxy war’

The High Court of Karnataka has imposed a cost of ₹5 lakh on Devas Employees’ Mauritius Pvt. Ltd. (DEMPL) for filling a petition “abusing process of law and as a proxy war” on behalf of Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd., which is facing money-laundering and other charges on its alleged fraudulent agreement on bandwidth facilities with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation.

Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar passed the order while dismissing the DESPL’s petition questioning the legality of the sanction granted by the Central government on January 18, 2021 for Antrix Corporation to initiate winding up proceedings against Devas.

Pointing out that the petitioner had already become a party before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in liquidation proceedings against Devas, the High Court observed that the present petition was filed a day prior to the date fixed for final hearing before the NCLT on a plea for liquidation of Devas, and this conduct amounts to “abuse of process of law and a proxy war on behalf of Devas”.

Observing that Devas had not challenged the sanction granted by the Central government, the court said that the DEMPL, which has a miniscule shareholding of 3.48% in Devas, has approached the High Court challenging the liquidation proceedings though sanction order has not affected its fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

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