New Delhi: The GMR Group-Maldives government tussle over the island nation’s international airport at Male on Monday deepened with the Maldives government insisting that it would take over the airport from GMR as per its decision last week despite the Singapore high court issuing an injunction against the Maldives, staying the implementation of its decision.
Following the court order, the GMR Group said in a statement that “With this, GMIAL shall continue to operate the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport as usual as per the provisions of the concession agreement.”
Under the airport contract, which GMR and its Malaysian consortium partner MAHB won in 2010 in bidding conducted by IFC, an arm of the World Bank, the law of either Singapore or Britain would apply in case of disputes between parties.
But the Maldivian government appeared set to take control of the $500 million airport.
Maldives President Mohammed Waheed’s press secretary Masood Imad said: “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 ... where compensation is adequate, an injunction cannot be issued. A court cannot issue such an injunction against a sovereign state.” Mr. Imad further said that the Singapore judge had misinterpreted the law.
Waheed came to power after he ousted former president Mohammed Nasheed in a coup earlier this year under whose government, the 25-year airport contract was signed.
Indian government sources said that the legal and economic issues the Maldivian government had flagged was a mere fig leaf.
The GMR group heads ventures that operate airports at New Delhi and Hyderabad in India as well as Male, Maldives and Istanbul, Turkey.