Cairn seeks $1.4 bn from Centre due to losses from tax demand

International tribunal in the process of drafting award, says the U.K. oil explorer

British oil explorer Cairn Energy Plc. said it is seeking $1.4 billion (about ₹10,300 crore) from the Indian government in losses arising from the expropriation of its investments to enforce a retrospective tax demand.

In its half-yearly earnings statement, the company said it expected an international arbitral tribunal to shortly give a decree on its challenge to the Indian government seeking ₹10,247 crore in retrospective taxes.

“The main evidentiary hearing of Cairn’s claim under the (U.K.-India Bilateral Investment) Treaty took place in August 2018 in The Hague with a final hearing in December 2018. All formal hearings and submissions have now been made and the tribunal is in the process of drafting its award,” the firm said. The tribunal, it said, has indicated that “it expects to be in a position to issue the award after the end of the summer of 2020, with no significant delay expected as a result of COVID-19.”

Cairn said it was seeking “full restitution for losses of more than $1.4 billion resulting from the expropriation of its investments in India in 2014; continued attempts to enforce retrospective tax measures; and the failure to treat the firm and its investments fairly and equitably.”

This is the second-most high profile retrospective tax litigation. Last week, an international arbitration tribunal ruled India’s efforts to claim ₹22,100 crore in past taxes from Vodafone Group were in breach of fair treatment under the bilateral investment protection pact between the south Asian nation and the Netherlands.

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