Singapore, Dec 6 (IBNS) Indian infrastructure company GMR on Thursday lost its case against the Maldives government on the Male airport project with a Singapore court ruling that the archipelagic nation can cancel a $511 million airport development contract given to the firm.
"The Maldives government has the power to do what it wants, including expropriating the airport," Sundaresh Menon, the Chief Justice of Singapore, said, according to media reports.
Maldives president's spokesperson after the judgement said the government would now call fresh global tenders for the project of modernizing GMR Male' International Airport Ltd (GMIAL).
On Dec 3 it seemed GMR group got a reprieve when the Singapore High Court had stayed the termination of the multi-million dollar contract that the company was executing at Male airport in Maldives but got caught in the vortex of politics and anti-India feelings.
But the reprieve was short lived and finally the verdict went in favour of Maldvies government.
The Government of Maldives had earlier terminated the contract, triggering strong reactions from the GMR group.
GMR earlier said that the action was unilateral and completely irrational.
Relations between India and Maldives had soured over the issue, especially after a government spokesperson said the Indian High Commissioner should leave their country over the airport project.
Maldives president Mohamed Waheed as well as pro-government Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) later condemned the remarks made against the Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay by government Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza.
At a rally organized by the Civil Coalition against Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) operator GMR (an Indian company), Abbas had said that Mulay had taken bribe from the Indian company and said that "the Indian High Commissioner would have to leave the country the same day GMR is ousted."
Abbas also purportedly called Mulay anti-Maldives and that he is not wanted on their soil.
But a day later, the government disassociated itself from the remarks.
GMR Male' International Airport Pvt. Ltd. is a joint venture company promoted by Bangalore-headquartered GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) along with its sole consortium partner Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).
In June 2010, the consortium won concession for the Malé International Airport (later renamed as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport ) for a period of 25 years.
Ibrahim Nasir International Airport INIA is the special purpose vehicle formed in Maldives pursuant to the concession in which the stake of GIL and MAHB is 77% and 23% respectively.
More than 1200 employees from Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) were to be transferred to GMR Malé International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (GMIAL) as part of the privatisation.
There has been many criticism of the GMR managing the airport in Male. Many protests were organized against GMR and it has become very unpopular among the Maldivians, according to reports.
Certainly in the due process GRM had tried to hijack the decisions of the Indian government, with false claims (such as linkage to China or Islamists, which is really concerning and dangerous) and specially at the expense of our long established relations. GRM is not the only Indian investment in the Maldives. Tata and Taj have spent many times more money than GRM spent in past 3 years in the Maldives. I urge the Indian government not to believe these false claims and accusation when we already know that the contract is one sided and the Maldivian people are at a loss if we are to allow GRM to continue operating in Maldives. Sorry. We can't let that happen. But at the same time we don't want to ruin our relation for this.
additionally i don't think think India is a position to dictate what's right for Maldives. We have our domestic law. we are a sovereign and independent country. if you say we Maldivians can't live with out help from India, same goes to the Indian people. we all are living in an extremely intense and interdependent world. if are harmed, the effect goes to the Indian people who sell us the onions, potato, and construction materials. If India threatens to abandon our 50,000 citizens in India, in Maldives we have an equivalent number of Indian citizens who work and share our resources. in short, let's face the simple fact that GRM is not india. and India is not GMR. We have Indian companies such as Taj and Tata who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy and we have no issues with them. only thing we are unhappy is that we feel the agreement we have with GRM is heavily biased and we are at a great loss if GRM is to continue operating. India has said, it would protect the interests of the Indian people and investors, equally the government and Maldives as a country are obliged to protect the rights and privileges of its own community. and we do that, we don't want to be an enemy to out big neighbor. we want to corporate with you and understand that it is unfair for us to continue as it is. importantly india has to understand there is growing concern among the Maldivian people, with Indian government's direct influence on the government of Maldivian people, and due to this there has been a rise in mixed sentiments to India. I hope India would really understand us, and situation, and make policies that harm none of our people and corporate between the two countries, not ruin our long established relation with a rising circumstance like this.