DELHI (Metro Rail News): On Monday, the Delhi High Court reserved its decision on a plea filed by Reliance Infrastructure-backed Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) to enforce a 2017 arbitral verdict related to the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line.
It further noted the guarantee of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation that Rs 600 crore would be deposited in DAMEPL’s escrow account within two days.
While the Reliance Infra-led firm hopes that the DMRC deposit the entire amount of Rs 6,305.40 crore into the Project Escrow Account immediately in accordance with the arbitral award, the DMRC disputes the figure, claiming that they only owe Rs 3,305 crore after paying Rs 1,000 crore last year.
The DMRC told the court on Monday that it employs over 15,000 people and is the transportation lifeblood of Delhi.
As per DMRC’s lawyer, there is a significant deficit of customers due to Covid. As a result, a huge revenue implication has hit DMRC, resulting in a monthly loss of Rs 150 crore. DMRC is a government undertaking. The amount proposed by DMRC was Rs 600 crore up front and requested extra time to pay the rest of the money.
The judge called the amount offered by DMRC “peanuts” and stated it was unacceptable. “You are the central government. You are the state government, but despite that, you are not realising,” Justice Suresh Kumar Kait remarked.
Regarding the position of funds, the DMRC had earlier told the court that it has Rs 1,478.39 crore fund available in the banks under ‘DMRC Funds’ head, Rs 2,668.81 crore under ‘Project Funds’ – earmarked for Phase III and IV – and Rs 1,561.30 crore under ‘other than DMCR funds’ head, which have been provided to it by the Maharashtra and Bihar governments for construction of metro rail there.
Only revenues of the metro railway administration can be attached by a court in execution of a decree or order, according to Section 89 of The Metro Railways Act, 2002. The DMRC told the court that project funds and money from other state governments could not be used to settle the debts.
When contractors enter into contracts with DMRC, they are aware of the legal clause that forbids any court from attaching its properties in execution procedures.
DMRC signed a contract with DAMEPL in 2008 for the line’s design, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance. DMRC sought arbitration in 2012 after DAMEPL cancelled the concession agreement on the grounds that DMRC had failed to rectify construction faults within the specified 90-day period. In September, the Supreme Court upheld a 2017 arbitral award in DAMEPL’s favour.