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DMRC's Delay In Award Execution Costing Taxpayers Rs 1.75 Cr Per Day: DAMEPL To HC

The Decree Holder (DAMEPL) submits that the present application has been necessitated in view of the conduct of the Judgment Debtor (DMRC) of making only partial disclosure of its bank accounts.

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The Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) has told the Delhi High Court that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is deliberately trying to delay the execution of the over Rs 4,600 crore arbitral award against it, which is costing taxpayers a daily interest of almost Rs 1.75 crore. 

The Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary, in an application filed in the ongoing execution proceedings before the high court, stated that DMRC is trying to defeat the process by making a limited disclosure of bank account details only with respect to Rs 1642.69 crores in spite of the order directing it to disclose all its bank account details.

It claimed that DMRC, in an affidavit filed in December, had disclosed total available funds to the tune of Rs 5800.93 crores.

The Decree Holder (DAMEPL) submits that the present application has been necessitated in view of the conduct of the Judgment Debtor (DMRC) of making only partial disclosure of its bank accounts.

"This is only an attempt on part of the Judgment Debtor to delay the process of execution of the decree in favour of the Decree Holder as well as to somehow ensure that the hearing scheduled before this Hon'ble Court on 11 .01.2022 is ineffective, the application filed by DAMEPL said.

An arbitral tribunal in its May 2017 award had ruled in favour of DAMEPL, which had pulled out from running the Airport Express metro line over safety issues, and accepted its claim that the running of operations on the line was not viable due to structural defects in the viaduct through which the train would run.

On December 22, Justice Suresh Kait had directed DMRC to file an affidavit furnishing the details of its bank accounts along with the balance amount.

The judge had observed that while the attachment of DMRC's properties was not permitted under Section 89 of The Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, there was no such embargo with respect to its bank accounts.

DAMEPL submitted, in the application, that DMRC ought to comply with the high court order in letter and spirit and furnish complete details of all of its bank accounts and the total amount lying to the credit of such accounts along with the respective bank statements.

On 05.01.2021, the Judgment Debtor has belatedly served an affidavit making a limited disclosure of bank account details only with respect to Rs. 1642.69 crores . In a previous affidavit filed by the Judgment Debtor while making a disclosure with respect to 'Position of funds available with DMRC as on 17.12.2021', annexed a document as 'Annexure-2' reflecting the total available funds with DMRC to a tune of Rs. 5800.93 crores as on 17.12.2021, the application said.

"It is shocking that, despite the orders passed by this Hon 'ble Court, the Judgment Debtor in blatant disregard and contempt of the order has neither filed such an affidavit within the time prescribed nor furnished the particulars as directed," the applicatio said.

The delay in realisation of the amounts rightfully due to the Decree Holder under the Award is also costing the taxpayer an interest amount of almost Rs.1.75 crores daily, the application added as it claimed that DAMEPL was "suffering on each day's delay in receiving the fruits of its decree".

Last month, DAMEPL's counsel had told the court citing the DMRC's affidavit that it had over Rs 5,800 crore in its bank accounts as on December 17, with over Rs 1,642 crore being its earning and over Rs 2400 crore and Rs 1700 crore being its project allocation fund and deposit fund, respectively.

DMRC had stated that since the corporation was facing a financial crunch , undertaking a sudden liability would impact public interest and authorities were therefore working out a solution.

It had earlier told the court that it would deposit Rs 1,000 crore in favour of DAMEPL in an escrow account and suggested taking over the debt of the Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary to the extent of the award money, saying that it would be a better position to negotiate with the lender banks.

The offer was, however, turned down by DAMEPL and the court had observed that if the decree holder did not want to accept the proposal, it could not be forced to do so.

The award pertained to a concession agreement between the two entities, which was signed on August 25, 2008.

Under the agreement, DMRC was to carry out the civil works, excluding at the depot, and the balance, including the project system works, were to be executed by DAMEPL, a joint venture of Rinfra and a Spanish construction company -- Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles -- with a shareholding of 95 and five percent respectively.

The Airport Express line was commissioned on February 23, 2011, after an investment of over Rs 2,885 crore, funded by the DAMEPL promoters' fund, banks, and financial institutions.

In November, the Supreme Court had dismissed DMRC's plea seeking a review of its judgement which upheld the 2017 arbitration award in favour of DAMEPL, enforceable against it.

(PTI)


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