The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was on Monday asked by the Delhi High Court to pay Rs 60 crore more to a lender of its former concessionaire for the Airport Express line towards interest for the next three months on loans taken to build the line.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued the interim order after he was informed that the May 30 order directing Delhi Metro to pay Rs 60 crore as interest being borne by the concessionaire Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) was only for three months, which expired in June.
DAMEPL told the court that the interim measures was necessary for their protection because their financial condition was precarious owing to the time taken in adjudication of the dispute.
Taking note of the DAMEPL's contention, the court said that without prejudice to all the rights and contentions of the parties, DMRC should pay another sum of Rs 60 crore directly to the AXIS Bank - which is the lead lending bank to the concessionaire. It said this amount would be for the months of July, August and September.
It fixed the matter for September 8, when it will hear arguments on the issue.
The court also said that the payments would be made on furnishing an unconditional bank guarantee to the extent of Rs 65 crore. It also clarified that the terms and condition set in the May 30 order of this court would remain the same.
DMRC had moved the Supreme Court against May 30 order of the High Court, but the apex court on June 19 had dismissed their appeal asking it to pay Rs 60 crore as a three-month interest to a lender of its former concessionaire for airport express line.
Initially the interim order had come on a plea by DAMEPL seeking early payment of Rs 3,502 crore, which is 75 per cent of the arbitral award of Rs 4,670 crore granted in its favour on May 11.
DAMEPL, a subsidiary of the Reliance Infrastructure (Rinfra), has claimed that under the guidelines issued by NITI Aayog on September 5, 2016, public sector undertakings (PSUs) are to pay 75 per cent of the award amount even if they propose to challenge the arbitral award.
According to DAMEPL's plea, the concession agreement was entered into between the two on August 25, 2008. Under the agreement the 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, the plea has said.
The Airport Express line was commissioned on February 23, 2011 after an investment of Rs 2,885 crore funded by DAMEPL's promoters' fund, banks and financial institutions.
DAMEPL has said it had terminated the concession agreement as the DMRC had not cured some defects in the line within 90 days of the notice issued by it.
According to its plea, the agreement was terminated with effect from January 1, 2013 and the project was handed over to the DMRC on June 30, 2013. Till handing over of the project, the DAMEPL had operated the line as a deemed agent of DMRC.
Arbitration was entered into in August 2013 after efforts to amicably resolve the issues did not yield results.
DAMEPL is a joint venture of Rinfra and a Spanish construction company -- Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles, with a shareholding of 95 and five per cent respectively.
The concessionaire, in its plea, has claimed that "the payment of the interest to the lenders by it over the last four years in addition to the capital invested has enormously benefited DMRC and caused a financial crunch to DAMEPL".