New Delhi: Devas Multimedia on Friday alleged the CBI charge sheet against it was a "mala fide act" of the Indian government in retaliation for the company taking it to court over the cancelled Devas-Antrix contract.
CBI had yesterday filed a charge sheet against Devas Multimedia, its then CEO and three directors along with former senior officials of Indian Space Department, including then ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair.
The agency has charged the nine accused, including the company, of criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
In a statement issued on Friday, Devas Multimedia said it had not seen the charge sheet so it was not in a position to comment on its specifics.
"From the reports we have seen, the charge sheet is just the latest mala fide act that the Indian government has taken against Devas and its shareholders in retaliation for their exercising their legal rights arising out of the illegal annulment of the Devas-Antrix contract," Devas Chairman Lawrence Babbio said.
He said it is notable that the charge sheet has been issued just weeks after the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal unanimously found that the Indian government unlawfully expropriated the investments of Devas's Mauritius-incorporated shareholders and that the Indian government's actions denied fair and equitable treatment to those shareholders.
"The PCA ruling was the second by an international tribunal in favour of Devas and its investors.
In a 2015 decision, an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) tribunal unanimously found that Antrix's repudiation of the Devas- Antrix contract was unlawful, and awarded Devas damages and pre-award interest of approximately USD 672 million, plus post-award annual interest accruing at 18 per cent until the award is paid in full," he said.
Babbio said since 2011, when India annulled the Devas- Antrix contract, Devas has been subject to a range of unlawful measures from various parts of the government, including the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate.
"It is clear that the CBI charge sheet, issued just weeks after Devas and its shareholders' second resounding victory
against the Indian government is a continuation of the government's campaign against Devas and its shareholders for daring to exercise their legal rights", Babbio said.
(With Inputs from PTI)