The Centre on Monday said that it has not received any formal proposal from British oil major Cairn Energy to resolve the tax dispute within the country’s legal framework.
Minister of state for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed Lok Sabha in response to a written query on the tax dispute and the resultant arbitration award to Cairn Energy, that while no formal proposal from the entity has been forthcoming, the Government has received an order passed by a French court, to freeze certain Indian assets in a case related to Cairn Energy and that an international tribunal has asked India to pay the British oil major, an award amount of $1232.8 million plus interest and $22.38 million towards arbitration and legal costs.
The order has been communicated to the Indian government through diplomatic channels, the minister said.
In response to a question on whether a French court has ordered seizing of 10 Indian government residential assets in Paris in the ongoing tax battle with Cairn Energy Plc, the minister said, “an order has been passed by a French court freezing certain Indian Government properties in the case pertaining to Cairn Energy. The same has been communicated through diplomatic channels.”
To a related query on whether the arbitration tribunal in Hague had also overturned the Indian government’s demand for Rs 10,247 crore in back taxes that was issued in 2014, Mr Chaudhary said that arbitral tribunal had pronounced its award on December 21, 2020 in favour of Cairn Energy Plc and Cairn UK Holdings Ltd (CUHL).
It has asked India to pay Cairn an award amount of $1232.8 million plus interest and $22.38 million towards arbitration and legal costs, the minister informed.
On further being asked by Congress MP Manish Tewari, who had raised the query, if the Government had received a list of Indian public assets in countries where Cairn has registered enforcement and is looking to monetise the arbitration award, the junior minister for finance denied receiving any such list.
In the ongoing tax dispute, the India Government had recovered about Rs 7,600 crore by selling shares belonging to Cairn, seizing its dividends and withholding tax refunds.