Settle 2G dispute in 6 months or face legal arbitration: Sistema to govt
Russian conglomerate Sistema has threatened India with international arbitration proceedings if the government fails to resolve the fallout due to a recent court decision cancelling the company's permits to offer mobile services in the country, within six months.
New Delhi: Invoking bilateral investment treaty, Russian conglomerate Sistema has asked the Indian government to resolve within six months the dispute related to the cancellation of 21 telecom licenses of its local joint venture.
Sistema, Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov's holding firm, sought resolution of Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL) losing licenses, under the Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Sistema, among the worst-hit by the Supreme Court's order earlier this month to cancel 122 licences issued in 2008, also plans to file a petition this week in the country's top court urging it to review the earlier verdict.
It added that the company reserves the right to begin proceedings against India in an international tribunal if the dispute is not settled "in an amicable way" by August 28. SSTL President and CEO Vsevolod Rozanov said Sistema
JSFC, which is the majority shareholder in SSTL, "has invoked its right under Article 9.1 of the BIT signed between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of India for the promotion of mutual protection of investment...which came into force on August 5, 1996."
Seeking protection of its $3.1 billion investment in India, the company said it also plans to file a petition this week for review of the Supreme Court order cancelling 21 of SSTL licences in the country.
Sistema has a joint venture with India's Shyam Group -- Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) -- in which the Russian government also has a stake of 17.14 percent. "...cancellation of SSTL's licenses following Sistema's investment of billions of dollars into the Indian cellular sector is contrary to India's obligation under the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) including obligations to provide investments with full protection and security and obligations not to expropriate investments," Sistema said in a statement.
The telecom and law ministries seem keen to somehow bring the NDA's 2G licences into the scope of the recent Supreme Court verdict
It will not be making fresh capital investments in India and instead will use the infrastructure which is being dismantled in circles where it lost licenses in the remaining six circles.
Why is Telenor raising the arbitration issue when it has already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court?