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GMR gets reprieve from Singapore High Court, Maldives defiant

Singapore/Male, Dec 3, 2012 (PTI): 16:18 IST
Fule photo: An aeroplane lands at Male International Airport while a sail boat makes its way through a blue lagoon. AFP
Indian infrastructure giant GMR today won a reprieve from Singapore High Court which stayed the unilateral termination of its USD 500 million Male airport project by the Maldivian government, which, however made it clear that they will not honour the order.

After the Maldivian government terminated the contentious project under domestic political pressures, GMR moved the Singapore High Court against the decision. As per the project contract, in case of any differences between parties, the law of either Singapore or UK would apply.

"The High Court of Singapore has today granted injunctive relief against the applicability and operations of Letter dated November, 27 issued by the Ministry of Finance & Treasury (MoFT), Government of Male," GMR said in a statement in Singapore.

The Maldivian Airport Company Limited (MACL), based on Maldivian government's instructions, had on November 27 terminated the contract, which was given to GMR in 2010 during the previous regime of President Mohamed Nasheed.

Immediately after the Singapore High Court verdict, Maldives made it clear that its termination decision was "non -reversible and non-negotiable" and said no such injunction can be issued against a sovereign state.

"The government's decision is very clear. It is non-reversible and non-negotiable. Our decision was based on legal advice we got from our lawyers in UK and Singapore," Maldives President Mohamed Waheed's press secretary Masood Imad told PTI in Male.

"We have asked MACL to go ahead with the takeover process that would be done later this week," he said, adding, "We believe the judge was incorrect in interpreting the law".

He also argued that "Where compensation is adequate, an injunction cannot be issued. A court cannot issue such an injunction against a sovereign state.

"The laws of Singapore and Britain is very clear. It does not permit issuing an injunction where compensation is adequate".

The official said Maldivian government has initiated the arbitration process and "GMR will be compensated".

Meanwhile, Indian officials said they were studying the court verdict as the entire issue required a "more considered view."

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