Loop Telecom’s investor KHML has filed international arbitration against Indian government seeking damages of over $1 billion for 2G licences in which it had invested and were cancelled by Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.
“The claimant, Khaitan Holdings (Mauritius) Limited (KHML) hereby demands arbitration with the Respondent, the Union of India (the ‘UoI’),” the notice served by KHML to Indian government said.
KHML holds 26.95 per cent stake in Loop Telecom whose all 21 telecom 2G licences were cancelled by apex court.
Mauritius based KHML said that Loop paid a cash entry of Rs. 1,454.94 crore and financial guarantees worth Rs. 812 crore.
KHML has sought return of $140 million invested by it in Loop along with 12 per cent interest from the date of receipt of the investment till the date it receives the claim, its share of the lost shareholder revenue estimated in excess of $1 billion, loss of the market values of the licences in excess of $300 million.
Loop’s investor has held various rounds of meetings with government representatives but failed to arrive at any conclusion, said the statement
Following failure of talks with Indian government, KHML has invoked international arbitration and offered to hold arbitration outside India in London or Dubai.
The firm has filed arbitration under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and nominated Singapore based individual Francis Xavier SC as its arbitrator.
No immediate comments were received either from the company or the nodal government agency Department of Telecom on the matter.
KHML in the notice said that the Supreme Court judgement has held the Indian government process to issue licences “seriously flawed and legally untenable, as well as its policy being inherently arbitrary”, and neither KHML nor Loop were blamed for this.
“Despite this, neither adequate or any compensation has been paid to KHML and the spectrum has been subsequently re-bid,” the notice said.
The Mauritius—based investor first served notice to the government in April 2012 for resolving disputes under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements following cancellation of all of Loop licences by the apex court.
Mauritius-based Kaif Investments and Capital Global, majority investor in Loop Telecom had served notice under BIPA in April 2012, following which government representatives have held three rounds of discussion.
India signed BIPA with Mauritius on September 4, 1998 and it took effect from June 20, 2000.
Now, Kaif Investment and Capital Global are jointly being represented as KHML which has served the final notice for international arbitration.
The Indian team comprising officials from the Department of Telecom and the Ministry of External Affairs had three rounds of meetings with KHML representatives but could not arrive at any conclusion.
The government had decided to adjust the money of telecom operators affected by the apex court order, if they participate in spectrum auctions. This was to address concerns raised by foreign investors impacted by the apex court judgement.
Loop Telecom, however, opted out of both auctions that were held in November 2012 and March 2013 respectively and hence could not benefit from the government’s decision.