India

Benchmark Litigation Reviews

Dispute resolution
AMLegals

AMLegals is rapidly expanding, with 10 new hires and three promotions, as well as planned office openings in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Surat. It opened its Kolkata office in January 2020, adding to its existing locations in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi. The firm specialises in indirect taxation, insolvency, arbitration, intellectual property rights and contract law. According to a review of its caseload, contentious goods and services tax (GST), bankruptcy and arbitration matters accounted for 70% of its work last year.  

Managing partner Anandaday Misshra and associate partner Rishabh Sawasukha are the key contacts at the firm.

In one arbitration case, the team successfully assisted Deepak Phenolics by demonstrating that the client would suffer significant losses as a certain contract clause was restricting the contest of any quality. 

On the tax side, the team represented HMI Industrial against the government in a leading case involving the release of bank accounts by the revenue department if no proceeding is pending. 

Argus Partners

Argus Partners significantly bolstered its dispute resolution capability with four lateral partner hires, including three from HSA Advocates. The disputes practice now has eight partners covering primarily commercial, contractual and regulatory disputes, and it is active in domestic and international arbitrations. The firm has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.

Key figures within the team are senior partners R SuhinderAbeezar Faizullabhoy and Ranjit Shetty.

One highlight case saw the team successfully representing Tara India Holdings and other funds managed by IL&FS Investment Managers before the arbitral tribunal. The clients were claimants against respondent Anil Jhawar and Ors in connection to a breach of binding obligations under an investment agreement. 

In another matter, the team acted for Apex Properties in an interesting case where the Special Recovery Office is attempting to indirectly evict the client, when it could do so directly. The firm is working to challenge impugned notices issued by the Special Recovery Officer in the high court.

As noted above, senior partner Abeezar Fazullabhoy, and partners Murtaza Kachwalla and Shahen Pradhan joined the firm from HSA Advocates. Partner Maneesha Kongovi had her own independent practice prior 

Sterling & Wilson Powergen, Super-Max Personal Care Private and Voltas are also the firm’s key clients.

Client feedback 

They are very proactive and take a keen interest in the mattercoming up with different strategies. – Commercial and transactions 

Soorjya Ganguli 

Very articulate, knows the subject and law and is easily accessible.” 

AZB & Partners

The formidable AZB & Partners has a seasoned and respected dispute resolution team comprising some of the leading practitioners in the market. The firm has offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, with its 10 disputes partners covering the full range of practice areasIts core strength is corporate disputes, stemming from its top-tier M&A transactional practice. Arbitration is another key strength for the team, having played leading roles in landmark decisions that have sculpted the domestic arbitration landscape.  

Noted partners include Zia Mody, Rajendra Barot, Vijayendra Pratap, Anoj Menon and Sonali Mathur.  

In a high-profile investment treaty arbitration, the firm is acting for Nissan Motor against the Republic of India under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Japan and India. The arbitration has been initiated in respect of disputes arising out of a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Tamil Nadu, where certain fiscal incentives such as VAT and sales tax refunds were promised in the form of an investment promotion subsidy but not paid. Recently, Nissan resisted India’s jurisdictional objections raised in the arbitration. The team has been successful in thwarting repeated attempts by the counterparty to obtain an anti-arbitration injunction before the Madras High Court.  

Another triumph came in the representation of Rishima SA Investments in a Singapore-seated ICC arbitration. The panel unanimously awarded the client $110 million. The case was complex as it involved negating the Indian promoter’s claims of force majeure, and the firm defended its client against the promoter’s challenge up to the Singapore High Court. Rishima has also engaged the firm to enforce another foreign award valued at $108 million before the Delhi High Court.  

The firm boasts some of the corporate world’s biggest stars as clients, like IHH Healthcare, KKR, KPMG, Nissan Motors and Tata Steel. 

BMR Legal

Boutique tax firm, BMR Legal, is led by the highly-esteemed advocate Mukesh Butani. Peers and clients acknowledge he is “a big, big name in tax litigation”. The firm has made large strides in growth over the past year, hiring an indirect tax expert and padding out its strengths in niche tax areas. The firm’s seasoned lawyers cover corporate international tax, transfer pricing, GST, trade and customs, tax litigation, tax controversy management, strategic tax advisory and policy. The firm also acts as expert witness on treaty and transfer pricing law. 

Direct tax guru Butani helms the firm alongside indirect tax partner Tarun Jain.  

The firm has been instrumental in many high-profile tax dispute cases that end up setting case law. In one example, the firm acted for CLSA before the Mumbai bench of the income tax appellate tribunal. In this leading case, the firm held that the transfer pricing officer’s determination of the arm’s length price of international transaction for income tax was ad hoc and not sustainable by law.   

In another seminal case, Carlyle India Advisors Private engaged the firm to represent in a case pertaining to the transfer pricing issue of comparables, where the firm argued an investment advisory firm cannot be compared to a merchant banker. 

Jain and principal associate Shankey Agrawal were hired last year from their own advocacy practices.  

3M India, Canon India, Goldman Sachs Services, IBM India, Shell and Spencer Stuart International are some of the loyal clients of the firm.    

Dhaval Vussonji & Associates

Dhaval Vussonji & Associates’ core litigation strengths lie in its construction, insolvency and real estate practices. Established in 2013, the firm has over 60 lawyers across its offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. Representing clients at all forums, the dispute resolution practice extends to real estate, corporate, family law, banking and finance, slum rehabilitation schemes, redevelopment projects, security enforcement and specific performance of contracts and testamentary suits. 

The three main heads of the disputes group are managing partners Dhaval Vussonji and Prachi Dave and associate partner Sonam Mhatre.  

In a highlight real estate dispute, the firm acted for Rare Township against a complainant before the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MREARA). The complainant approached the MREARA to execute its sale agreement and raised demands to amend the draft agreement in accordance with his own terms. 

The firm has a strong cabal of domestic clients including Adani Realty, Godrej Gropu, JSW, Kotak Mahindra, Piramal Group, Shapoorji Pallonji and Spenta Developers. 

Dhir & Dhir Associates

Full-service law firm Dhir & Dhir Associates has an active dispute resolution group. Its core specialties are in commercial, construction, government and regulatory, and insolvency disputes. The firm has four offices across the country, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and a representative office in Japan.   

Managing partners Alok Dhir and Maneesha Dhir head a team of partners that lead the disputes offering. These include Sachin Gupta, Jayashree Shukla Dasgupta, Varsha Banerjee and KPS Kohli.  

The firm is representing loyal client Amtek Group and its group companies in multiple contentious matters. There have been various claims filed by lenders before the debt recovery tribunal for recovery of their outstanding dues and the team has been advising on aspects of the bankruptcy court proceedings and representation before different high courts. 

On the regulatory front, the team has been acting for the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India in a high court case filed by various broadcaster parties. The plaintiffs are challenging an advertising timing cap. The firm additionally is representing the same telecoms regulator as defendant in a tariff case filed by service providers Sony Pictures India and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation before the Supreme Court 

The firm’s key clients include Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, Granite Gate Properties Private, IDBI Bank, Ind-Barath Power, Leela Venture, Pashupati Dairy, Power Finance Corporation, Wavell Investments and Windworld India. Recent panel wins for the team include the State Bank of India, India Infrastructure Finance Company and National Fertilisers.  

DSK Legal

DSK Legal brings deep experience to dispute resolution clients across a range of corporate and commercial matters. These include commercial, regulatory, securities, criminal and constitutional litigation, along with domestic and international arbitration. It boosted its practice with the hiring of two litigation partners and their teams from respected peer firms, and welcomed seven insolvency-specialist partners from HSA Advocates.  

The disputes team is led by seven dedicated partners, including managing partner Anand Desai, Nirav Shah, Jatin Pore and Kirat Singh Nagra.  

The team is proud of its work in the first arbitration proceeding, valued at over $1 billion, conducted under the rules of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. The firm represented Kiri Industries (Kiri) in several of its global commercial disputes with Dystar Global Holdings (Dystar). Kiri is a shareholder in Dystar. The two clashed in a prior case that went before the SIAC, where Kiri alleged minority oppression against Dystar. The team helped have the matter transferred from SIAC to the commercial bench of the high court of Singapore. Finally, in a landmark judgment, being the first decision on minority oppression, the SICC allowed the oppression claim by Kiri and ordered the buyout of their shares. 

In a $600 million real estate dispute, the firm acted for the State of Maharashtra and Public Works Department with respect to certain land disputes that had arisen with KS Chamankar Enterprises (KS Chamankar). The state government entered into a development agreement with KS Chamankar on land which had encroaching slums. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority had granted development permissions. These permissions were terminated, leading to a slew of claims being filed. The dispute was multi-sided, with all involved parties having diverse and conflicting interests. The Bombay High Court ultimately passed an order in the clients’ favour by terminating KS Chamankar’s rights as a developer. 

The firm had a particularly active year in white-collar crime matters. For example, the team is representing key management of IDBI Bank, including the chairman, former deputy managing directors, former executive director and former general manager. They were arrested in connection with an allegedly fraudulent loan transaction.  

Last year, partners Kirat Singh Nagra and Nand Kishore joined the team from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and HSA Advocates respectively. 

Other significant clients that worked with the firm over the past year include IL &FS Financial Services, Mohalla Technologies, Times of Money Private and Wind World’s committee of creditors.  

Economic Laws Practice (ELP)

The dispute resolution group at Economic Laws Practice excels in competition, international arbitration, regulatory and tax work. The tax practice is one of the top in the country, with many peers and clients affirming its dominance in this space. 

Ten senior lawyers are focused purely on litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, including partners Naresh Thacker, Jitendra Motwani, Ashish Prasad, Hardik Modh and Dinseh Pednekar 

In a key tax dispute, the firm acted for Multiplex Association of India in a price cap matter and has drafted a writ petition challenging the price cap. The team is also representing and acting as briefing counsel in the petition before the Karnataka High Court. The crux of the issue is whether the government can regulate prices charged by private businesses for goods and services which are not essential commodities. The final judgment will impact the film industry. 

Honeywell Automation India has engaged the firm to represent it in a lawsuit filed by german automation company Hectronic. The latter is suing for amounts encashed by the client under two bank guarantees. The client had entered into a contract with Indian Oil Company (IOCL) to supply automated tank gauging systems and in turn subcontracted a portion of the said contract to Hectronic. Due to alleged defects in equipment supplied by Hectronic, Honeywell was hit by a damages claim by IOCL and the bank guarantees furnished by Honeywell were encashed by IOCL. In turn, Honeywell encashed the guarantees furnished by Hectronic. The agreement between the parties did not contain an arbitration agreement and Hectronic filed a lawsuit before the courts in Pune. The automation involved herein was the first of its kind in India and was to be executed across the breadth of the country in all of the tanks belonging to IOCL. 

The team also successfully defended claims brought by Cicon Engineers in an ad hoc arbitration against client Otis Elevator Company for variation claims. The tribunal rejected the claims and awarded a counterclaim in favour of its client 

The team lost two partners and two associate partners last year. Partners MP Devnath and Vikas Sharma, and associate partner Abhishek Anand left for Sarvada Legal, while associate partner Rhia Marshall Banerjee started anew as an independent practitioner.  

Notable clients of the firm are Adani Global, Advanced MedTech Solutions Private, Heligo Charters, India Gateway Terminal and Otis Elevator Company.  

Gaggar & Partners

Antitrust and competition boutique Gaggar & Partners experienced a surge in growth this year, going from three partners to seven. Two were laterally hired and two were internally promoted. All 27 fee earners are well-versed in competition matters, the firm being known to represent all sides of the spectrum involved in antitrust cases. The firm has featured in many high stakes and jurisprudence setting competition cases and is regularly called upon to work with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The firm has a particularly deep understanding of the gaming and technology, real estate and construction and auto parts sectors. 

Key figures at the firm include managing partner Vaibhav Gaggar, and partners Nitish Sharma and Neha Mishra.  

The firm has been engaged exclusively by the CCI to represent it before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in a landmark case between Google and matrimony.com where the former was fined for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the web search market. The case relates to issues governing technology and antitrust laws, and is the first case of its kind in the domain. The outcome of the case will have a massive impact on the entire technology, e-commerce and digital services sector.  

The team also successfully represented Fangs, a distributor of Vivo mobile handsets, before the CCI with respect to information filed by a distributors association alleging resale price maintenance and other anti-competitive issues. The firm was able to ensure that the case was closed at the threshold by the CCI and this formed a very important precedent for the jurisprudence relating to resale price maintenance in India, since it was the first case of its nature in the mobile technology sector. The CCI has since used this particular case as precedent for later similar disputes.  

In the past 12 months, the firm hired antitrust partner Nitish Sharma from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and gaming law expert Mithun Rebello from an in-house role at Quantum Games.  

Clients of the firm are a mix of known domestic and international entities such as Belaire and Park Place Association, Citibank, Denso Ten, Fastway Transmission, Intex Technologies, National Engineering Industries, NTN Corporation, Toyo Tire Corporation and Vivo Mobile.  

Gaggar & Partners has joined forces with intellectual property juggernaut Anand and Anand to form a new special purpose vehicle called Anand Anand and Gaggar to provide advice on matters where IP, technology and competition intersect. 

Client feedback 

The firm has done very well with our case and achieved favourable results.” – Competition/antitrust 

Gravitas Legal

Founded in 2015, Gravitas Legal is a real estate specialist firm that regularly works with property developers, institutional lenders and property investors for their litigation needs. It also has a robust contentious insolvency practice. 

Partners Tanuj Sud and Varij Sharma are the main contacts of the disputes practice.  

In a matter pending before the Supreme Court, the firm is representing the Citrus Welfare Society that filed a special leave petition. The team also represented the Allahabad Bank as financial creditor in the Linkhouse Industries insolvency and argued to establish that there was a default due to non-payment of debt and not repaid by the debtor. 

Hammurabi & Solomon Partners

The dispute resolution offering at Hammurabi & Solomon Partners received an extra surge of capability with the recent joining of tax specialist partner Pravesh Khandelwal from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and disputes partner John Thomos, whose independent practice was absorbed into the firm. The group focuses on regulatory, public policy and corporate commercial dispute resolution. On the alternative dispute resolution side, the firm offers arbitration, mediation, negotiation and case management.  

The key contacts at the firm are founder and managing partner Manoj Kumar and head of dispute resolution Shweta Bharti.  

In one commercial litigation highlight from last year, Barti led a team that acted for Feedback Infra in its case against Sanjoe Supreme Tollways Development. The firm drafted a winding up petition against the tollway developer for the unpaid amount it owed Feedback Infra as per the service agreement.  

On the insolvency side, the firm represented Vardhman Buildtech at the National Law Company Tribunal (NCLT) and provided it with strategic advice for a refund of bank guarantees from the counterpary

Hitesh Sanghvi Law Offices

Based in Mumbai, Hitesh Sanghvi Law Offices has an active dispute resolution practice with core focuses on banking and finance, corporate and white-collar crime contentious matters. It has sector strengths in industrials, electrical equipment, healthcare, medical equipment and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI).  

Founder Hitesh Sanghvi heads the dispute resolution practice. He specialises in commercial, construction and white-collar crime litigation.  

The firm is handling several dispute matters for Varian Medical Systems International and its Indian subsidiary. One of these is related to a dispute over a tender awarded by the Mahrashtra State Government once an opponent party took over and gave rise to the threat of the client being blacklisted. After intense negotiations, the case was closed in the client’s favour at the pre-litigation stage and all monies were recovered. In a white-collar crime case, the firm is representing an ultra-high net worth individual after the Enforcement Directorate issued them a summons pursuant to an investigation of money laundering.  

India Law Alliance

India Law Alliance’s core practice areas are general and corporate litigation, arbitration, tax litigation and insolvency. The firm was founded in 2004 and has offices in Mumbai and Delhi. It has experience across multiple industry sectors such as materials, consumer product manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturers, travel and leisure, and utilities.  

The key contacts for litigation are founding partners Anupam Dighe and Kamlesh Kharade. Three other partners round out the team include Shailaja Kher, Sumit Batra and Kiran Padalkar 

Last year, the firm represented Reliance Infrastructure against a company petition filed by Northern Heavy Industry Group. The matter was eventually settled and consent terms were filed. The firm acted for the same client in a separate arbitration petition matter against Ahluwalia Contracts. The latter sought an injunction against the client from invoking a bank guarantee.  

IndusLaw

The dispute resolution group at Induslaw are seasoned professionals handling all matters of corporate litigation and arbitration. There was some changing of the guard over the past year, with three new partners joining, two internal partner promotions, and two partners leaving. Notably, leading practitioner V Srinivasa Raghavan was elevated as senior counsel by the Karnataka High Court. The firm has been growing in strength as it aims to build strong, stable and competent litigation teams equally across all offices. The advocacy-focused team handles a diverse range of matters, such as international and domestic arbitrations, commercial disputes, intellectual property, real estate, insolvency, writ petitions, constitutional law, recovery suits, public interest litigations and pro bono work. 

Seven partners helm the litigation and dispute resolution department, including noted lawyers Amit Jajoo, Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri and Palecanda ChinnappaThere are over 40 disputes-dedicated associates across the three offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.  

In a high-profile case, the firm was successful in representing client SAIF III Mauritius Company (SAIF). The client had made substantial investments into IVision Media India, with an option to exit with assured returns. IVision had surreptitiously transferred the SAIF investments to its group company Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC). The client filed a petition seeking injunctive reliefs against IVision and its group companies. It sought an order restraining the counterparties from alienating their shares, and for an order directing that the monies transferred over to ABC, be brought back to IVision. The case posed some interesting questions of law as the petition had been filed under the amended Companies Act and orders were even sought against third parties, who are not parties of the Articles of Association of the company. After a hard-fought battle, ABC settled the dues of SAIF in full. 

In another widely-reported ongoing lawsuit, the team acted for Oravel in seeking an injunction against the Hotelier Welfare Association (HWA). The client alleged that HWA was maliciously and tortuously interfering in the business of Oravel in New Delhi and in other states, by issuing threats through press statements, notices and letters to the hotel owners for boycotting and blocking access to rooms.  

Partners Amit Jajoo and Sushmita Gandhi joined the firm from HSA Advocates, while partner Padmaja Kaul joined from Trilegal. Sandeep Grover left to start his own firm Ortis Law Offices with another lawyer from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, and Nikhilesh Rao lateralled over to Khaitan & Co.  

CTR Management, JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Company, Lakshmi Vilas Bank and Pune Solapur Expressways Private are all new clients of the firm.  

Jerome Merchant + Partners

The dispute resolution group at Jerome Merchant + Partners offers end-to-end advice in litigation and arbitration. The firm has particular experience in dealing with commercial and corporate disputes, and contentious insolvency matters. It has a notable banking and financial services practice as well.  

Core disputes figures are partner and insolvency specialist Murtaza Somjee and real estate specialist Kalpana Merchant.  

During the research period, the team represented the plaintiff, a leading architect in Mumbai, in pursuing a contractual monetary claim of $2 million arising in connection with a services agreement in a conveyancing transaction. 

Walchand Group, a domestic auto manufacturer, engaged the team to defend it in a suit against a leading commercial bank. The bank filed a specific performance suit against the client in the high stakes real estate battle involving a $30 million property.  

Notable dispute resolution clients include Centrum Capital, Cushman & Wakefield India, Deutsche Bank, Horse Shoe Capital, Kirloskar Group, SSG Capital, Tata Motors and Videocon Group.  

Karanjawala & Co

Delhi-based Karanjawala & Co is one of the leading firms specialising in commercial and transactional disputes as well as arbitration. The leadership team comprises respected and seasoned litigators. It is worth noting that five of the seven partners are female. Although the firm provides transactional advice, its keystone offerings encompass litigation, arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution.  

Managing partner Raian Karanjawala serves as the head of the disputes department. Other key figures are founding partner Manik Karanjawala and senior partners Nandini Gore and Ruby Singh Ahuja.  

The firm is assisting Tata Motors to file an enforcement petition of an award it was granted during arbitration proceedings against the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). In the most recent round of rulings, the high court directed DTC to release extra funds and allowed Tata to withdraw the sum.  

In a landmark ruling, the firm acted for PM Diesels against Patel Field Marshal Agencies in an intellectual property case that hinged on the interpretation of the Trade Merchandise Act and Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 

The team also acted for Adani Enterprises in an ongoing arbitration dispute pertaining to the Chendipada Coal block. The dispute between the parties arose with respect to the restitution of the investment made by the client pursuant to a judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India with respect to de-allocation of coal blocks in the country. The firm successfully got an interim award for its client towards the partial expenses it incurred while developing the coal block. 

The firm counts domestic powerhouse corporates and multinational banks and companies as loyal clients, such as Adani Group, Ambuja Cement, Astro, Coca Cola, Colgate, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, Star TV, Unilever and Vodafone.  

Keystone Partners

Keystone Partners is an independent dispute resolution specialist firm that was founded by a group of first-generation lawyers. With offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, the firm offers a full range of disputes-related services including commercial disputes, construction, government and regulatory, intellectual property and international arbitration 

Key names include senior partner Pradeep Nayak and partners Sita Kapadia, Pritha Srikumar-Iyer,  Arun Sri Kumar, Anupama Hebbar, Sulabh Rewari and Vikas Mahendra 

The firm is proud of receiving numerous panel appointments for government entities. These include acting for the State of Karnataka in appellate proceedings relating to inter-state sales transaction tax disputes, acting for the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission in appearances before the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court and the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity in Delhi, and representing the Competition Commission of India in front of the Bombay and Karnataka high courts.  

The firm represented Richa Kar, the founder of a large online lingerie retailer, Actoserba Active Wholesale. The firm filed a case relating to a shareholder’s dispute between the founders of the company and its investors. In another commercial case, the team acted for Associate Décor, a regional particleboard producer, in a petition filed by minority shareholders seeking cancellation of prior share allotments of the company. 

Key clients of the firm are Altico Capital India, Arris Global, Malav Holdings, Godrej Properties, Kappa Building Systems and Raffles Design India.  

Arun Sri Kumar 

He has very good knowledge of legal matters, good communication skills, and excellent argumentation so as to win the case. 

Khaitan & Co

Khaitan & Co sits atop the tables in all the core commercial and corporate areas of dispute resolution. It has won many plaudits from the market for its consistency and deep bench strength across all practice areas, from commercial and transactions, and competition to international arbitration, construction and government and regulatory.   

The firm has 36 disputes-related partners. The 12 key practitioners guiding the teams across four offices in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi include leading lawyers IP specialist Ajay Bhargava, commercial litigation expert Sanjeev Kapoor and construction specialist Sudip Mullick.  

The firm represented Multiplex Association of India to file a special leave petition challenging a high court order that allowed patrons to carry outside food and beverages inside multiplexes. This matter and its outcome would be significant as it will have a larger impact on the dynamics and revenue model of the multiplex industry which has food and beverages as a major contributor towards its revenue. It will also impact the right to regulate the use of a private premises by the owner but which premises is used by general public. 

In an antitrust matter, the firm is acting for IndiGo in relation to allegations that IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet colluded to fix air cargo fuel surcharges. The competition authority found contravention by the parties, including IndiGo and now it is awaiting a hearing at the court of appeal.  

Partners Kingshuk Banerjee, M Nikhilesh Rao and Tomu Francis joined the firm last year from Wadia GhandyIndusLaw and Economic Laws Practice, respectively. Anushka Sharda and Saman Ahsan were promoted to the partnership. Nalina Mayegowda left for Magnah Law Partners, while Sachin Mandlik has departed to start his own independent firm.  

Client feedback 

“They diligently work to complete all necessary actions, documentation etc. – Competition/antitrust 

“Excellent legal strategy and commercial acumen, and they place the best possible senior counsels.” – Insolvency  

Arvind Jhunjhunwala 

“Excellent legal strategy.” 

Kochhar & Co

Full service firm Kochhar & Co provides dispute resolution services with a primary focus on intellectual property and white-collar crime. Its IP team covers all litigious and enforcement matters for trade mark, patent and copyright.  

Senior partners Tarvinder Singh and Savitha Desav Jagadeesan are key contacts for IP disputes. The white-collar crime department is headed by managing partner Rohit Kochhar and senior partner Krishna Vijay.  

The firm is representing Aristocrat Technologies to possibly defend it against allegations of copyright infringement on technical and legal grounds, and adopting strategies to resolve the matter expeditiously without entering litigation. The negotiations were measured initially, then became more aggressive to ultimately expose the lack of evidence provided by plaintiffs to substantiate their allegations. 

The team is working with Italian company CD Pharma and its group companies against a professor in a highly complex dispute relating to financial and corporate fraud on a cross-border basis involving multiple jurisdictions including India, Switzerland, South Korea, Italy and the United States. The defendant allegedly engaged in forgery, cheating and criminal breach of trust overt a series of illegal activities that he initiated, including siphoning huge sums of money from the client.  

In the past year, the firm has worked with a slew of top-tier intellectual property clients such as Ascendas, ASUS, Blackberry, Caterpillar, Ciena Corporation, Emirates Airlines, Koch Industries, Lockheed Martin, National Presto, Nissan Motors and Wells Fargo Bank.  

Link Legal India Law Services

Link Legal India Law Services has a broad disputes practice covering a wide range of sectors including aviation, banking and financial services, construction and energy. The team has been very active the past year, and its arbitration work is on the upswing.  

Co-managing partners Atul Sharma and Nusrat Hassan lead a team of 12 partners that run the dispute resolution group. Other partners include Milanka Chaudhury, Anand Srivastava, Abhishek Sharma, Dinesh Pardasani, Prasad Dhande, Ravi Varma, Sidhartha Srivastava and Sanjay Gupta.   

In a recent landmark supreme court judgement, the firm featured by representing members of the Independent Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI) in a writ petition challenging the Banking Regulation Act and a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The main challenge by IPPAI was that its members were not wilful defaulters and the reasons for stressed assets in the power sector were beyond the control of the client. The Supreme Court quashed the circular as being ultra vires, bringing far-reaching impact across all sectors of the country as the circular directed all banking companies to mandatorily initiate insolvency proceedings against stressed assets if compliances under the circular were not completed within 180 days. 

During the research period, the firm acted for SpiceJet and Ajay Singh in a petition of an arbitral award before the Delhi High Court. An arbitration claim was filed by KAL Airways Kalanithi Maran with respect to various share sale and purchase agreement disputes. The dispute was unique in that the claimants, amongst other reliefs, also sought for restitution. The tribunal ultimately pronounced its final award, concluding that no breach of the agreement could be attributed to the firm’s clients.  

Partner Sanjay Gupta was hired from Bhasin & Co. Departures included partner Saloni Gupta who left to go in-house at Apple and partner Nikhil Rodrigues who also took up an in-house post elsewhere.  

Key clients of the firm include Alstom Systems India, Delhi Airport Metro Express Private, Drake & Scull Water and Energy IndiaRamky Infrastructure and Soma Enterprise.  

Client feedback 

The service is of a very high quality.” – Commercial arbitration 

Dinesh Pardasani *moved to DSK Legal

He is good in the preparation of pleadings and legal submissions, and also effective in arguments. 

Mason & Associates

Mason & Associates is a specialist intellectual property boutique. Focused on handling all matters of IP, the firm has carved out strengths in contentious IP matters, litigation strategy, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy enforcement, patent litigation and competition matters. The team last year matured with the internal promotion of two to associate partner.   

The main contact at the firm for disputes work is managing partner and intellectual property specialist Neel Mason.  

The team represented Super Cassettes Industries Private (SCIP) in a suit against Pooja Entertainment Films and Pooja Film Company seeking an injunction in its favour from any unlawful interference in the exploitation of two films by the defendants. Pooja Entertainment Films allegedly entered into an agreement with a third party, which was prohibited in previous agreements. 

In another case, the firm represented Snapdeal after an injunction order was passed by the Delhi High Court that restrained its client from selling or dealing with any Hindustan Unilever products. The firm was able to successfully restrict the scope of the injunction and the court, by way of the modification order, held that Snapdeal was only liable to remove products identified as counterfeit by the plaintiff from an online platform. 

Former partner Ankit Relan left the firm to go in-house at Facebook.  

Nishith Desai Associates

Nishith Desai Associates offers a full range of dispute resolution services. Its government and regulatory litigation, tax litigation and international arbitration practices rank among the best in the market. The firm has a specialist international dispute resolution and investigations team, as well as a bilateral treaty investment arbitration team. Its new sub-practice groups for construction litigation, and white collar crimes and investigations had a busy past year.  

Three senior leaders helm the various disputes groups including head of international disputes and investigations Vyapak Desai, head of the technology and IP disputes Gowree Gokhale and head of the international tax disputes Rajesh Simhan 

The team is representing the world’s largest oral care brand in proceedings against the Advertising Standards Council of India. In another matter, the firm acted for one of the world’s largest architectural, civil engineering and general contracting firm on disputed variation, delay, breach of contract and payment valuation claims arising under a FIDIC silver book contract against an Indian subsidiary of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.  

The team is also representing the Federation of Indian Airlines, a body of four leading domestic airlines, in the petitions filed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport, a company incorporated to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the Hyderabad international airport. The dispute centres around a levy called the user development fee.  

Clients that engaged the firm last year include Euroschool Education Trust, Excelerate Energy, Fortissimo Capital, Infosys Limited Employees Provident Fund Trust and Vedant Dyestuff Intermediates.  

Phoenix Legal

Full-service law firm Phoenix Legal is known for its insolvency practice. The disputes team handles a multitude of corporate, civil and criminal matters before all levels of court.   

Partners Mrinal Ojha, Trinath Tadakamalla, Vasanth Rajasekaran and Debarshi Dutta have practices that encompass commercial disputes, litigation and arbitration.  

The team represented an Indian state government, its irrigation department, and an engineering and construction company, in public interest litigation and National Green Tribunal (NGT) proceedings against them. The dispute was in relation to environmental compliances for proposed high-value reservoirs and irrigation projects which involved securing the removal of an injunction on construction imposed by the NGT from the high court. 

Additionally, the firm acted for a leading international tour operator in an action for specific performance of a contract awarding it the right to run a one-of-a-kind luxury train, and in a dispute involving the enforcement of a non-compete agreement against a key senior employee.  

In arbitration, the team is representing a Japanese car manufacturer in a multi-million dollar dispute under a distributor agreement with its sole distributor of cars in India in international commercial arbitration proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. 

In a significant insolvency matter that was one of the first cases of admission of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the relatively new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in India, the team acted as legal advisors to the Resolution Professional of Murli Industries in all proceedings against Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company.    

Partner Jyoti Singh left to start her own eponymous firm. Partner Shadaan Saipillai also departed and founded his own firm, Calibre Legal.  

Key clients of the firm include Builders Association of India, Pioneer India Electronic and Veolia Environment. 

Prosoll Law

Prosoll Law is a criminal law boutique, featuring three experienced advocates. Within the criminal law space, the firm handles all practices ranging from the Prevention of Corruption Act matters, anti-money laundering, regulatory matters, white-collar crimes frauds and economic offense-related litigations, constitutional challenge disputes and civil litigation.  

Founder of the firm Harsh Sharma is the key contact, a respected criminal lawyer with several landmark judgements under his belt. His practice focuses on anti-corruption, economic offences, constitutional remedies, conventional crime, tort, service matters and alternate dispute resolution. Advocates Vaibhavi Sharma and Rohit Gaur round out the team.  

One ongoing work highlight is representing Abhay Singh Chautala, a member of the legislative assembly in the state of Haryana. Chautala, the son of the former chief minister of Haryana, is being accused of amassing unaccounted for assets including movable and immovable properties by adopting illegal means and by misusing the official posts held by him and his father. The Central Bureau of Investigation alleged the client had acquired assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The trial worked its way up to the apex court, where it gained a spotlight after a designated special court was formulated to try matters pertaining to those holding political office. The Prosoll team curated an exclusive defence strategy and worked tirelessly to shield the matter from the media.  

PSL Advocates & Solicitors

PSL Advocates & Solicitors is a boutique law firm with strengths in international commercial arbitration, insolvency and tax disputes. It has offices in Delhi and Mumbai. The firm has Russia, Japan, Dubai and China desks.    

The main practitioners for the dispute resolution practice are founding and managing partners Sameer Jain and Sandeep Bajaj, and partner Rahul Chaudhary. All three focus on commercial and corporation litigation.  

In a high profile ad hoc domestic arbitration, the firm is representing claimant Wipro against the State of West Bengal. The dispute arises out of a breach of contract between parties, for the respondent’s failure to perform and consequent non-payment. In this arbitration, the levy of arbitrary penalty for delay in completion of the project was also challenged. The case was significant as this is a domestic arbitration instituted by one of the leading multinational corporations of India against a state government authority 

Another arbitration valued at $200 million saw the firm act for the Airport Authority of India relating to the eviction of Frank Airways from DABH Airport due to non-payment of the license fee, and occupational charges and consequential damages.  

Key clients include the Bank of India, HCL Technologies, Sahara India Group and SBS Transpole Logistics.  

S&R Associates

S&R Associates has offices in Delhi and Mumbai. With a strong corporate practice, its dispute resolution offering aligns with that strength and routinely works with clients on complex commercial and transactional, regulatory, and intellectual property disputes. It also handles investor-state arbitration and bilateral investment treaty claims, and anti-corruption and internal investigations.  

The key figures in the disputes practice are partner Niti Dixit, and counsels Abhishek Tewari and Shahezad Kazi. Dixit is known for her commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory work.  

In a highlight intellectual property case, the team is acting for F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech in their civil claims against the Drugs Controller General of India and certain Indian manufacturers of purported biosimilar versions of the client’s blockbuster breast and gastric cancer drug, Trastuzumab. The claims filed by Roche and Genentech in this regard were the first of their kind in India. 

The firm also represented a foreign investor in an investment treaty arbitration against the Government of India involving substantial tax demands on the basis of a retroactive amendment to tax laws by the Government of India. 

Active clients include Ciarn Energy, Glencore Agriculture, McDonald’s, Nine Rivers Capital and Rocksource 

Saikrishna & Associates

Saikrishna & Associates is a top-tier firm for contentious intellectual property and technology, media and telecoms mattersIn particular, its copyright litigation team is arguably the best in the country, regularly recognised and namechecked by peers and clients.  

Key contacts for disputes include managing partner Saikrishna Rajagopal and partners Ameet Datta, Sidharth Chopra, Thomas George and Sneha Jain.  

The firm is featuring in a landmark case, the first lawsuit brought to an Indian court after the 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act. The firm assisted the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) to institute a suit to restrain copyright infringement against India’s largest telecom service provider Vodafone in respect of the failure to secure a license and to pay to IPRS royalties for the distribution and streaming of musical works. Vodafone claimed it had already paid royalties to the music labels. IPRS set out the law as amended in 2012 and argued that a music label could not collect authors’ royalties under the new law. The High Court of Calcutta ruled in favour of the IPRS and directed Vodafone to make a sizable interim deposit with the court as a condition of continuing to operate its music services across its network.  

Partner Thomas George was recruited last March from Viacom18 Media.  

Key clients include Adobe Systems India, Amazon Seller Services Private, Fox Star Studios, Harper Collins, Penguin Books, and the Walt Disney Company. New client wins in the past year include Apple TV, Audible Singapore, Bytedance, Panasonic and WeWork.    

Sarthak Advocates & Solicitors

Delhi-based Sarthak Advocates is a full-service firm with a robust commercial litigation and arbitration practice, particularly in the infrastructure and construction sectors. Its insolvency practice is also highly-recognised and had an active past year. The firm also serves as a legal panel advisor to government companies, the Shipping Corporation of India and Bharat Heavy Electrical. 

The main practitioners to contact are senior partner Mani Gupta and managing partner Abhishek Tripathi, who is known for insolvency work.  

During the research period, the firm acted for Bharat Heavy Electrical in challenging an arbitral award, where the counterparty has preferred a challenge to the same award in respect of rejection of all its other claims. In another matter, the firm was retained by Coastal Projects and Sabbineni Surendra to defend it in an arbitration against IFCI. The main issue involved is regarding the personal liability of promoters and whether a put option on securities constitutes a promoter’s guarantee obligation. 

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co is a leading firm and a dominant force in dispute resolution. It has unparalleled strengths in core corporate and commercial dispute practice areas and has a truly pan-India presence with offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. The disputes practice has over 120 lawyers, including market-leading senior litigators who cover diverse sectors and industries including financial services, banking, telecom, construction, energy, heavy industries, oil and gas, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, media and information technology.  

Managing partner Pallavi Shroff helms the dispute resolution group that consists of no less than 20 partners with specialties in disputes, arbitration, white-collar crime and insolvency. Apart from Shroff, leading lawyers from the group include Aashish Gupta, Tejas Karia, Misha and Ajit Warrier 

In what has been infamously coined as India’s largest banking fraud, the firm is representing Punjab National Bank (PNB) against the two jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and their affiliate firms, companies and entities, for defrauding the client of more than $3 billion. In addition to advising PNB on various regulatory issues connected to banking laws and regulations of the Reserve Bank of India, the team is assisting on the overall dispute resolution strategy for recovering the losses incurred by PNB. 

In another landmark decision, the firm acted for Tata Sons, in whose favour the Bombay High Court revoked the leave granted to a group of shareholders of certain Tata Group companies to file a representative suit claiming $6.14 billion for alleged loss owing to the removal of the executive chairman of Tata Sons. Also in another matter for the same client, the firm represented Tata Sons and Ratan Tata in the final hearing of the company petition filed by certain minority shareholders of Tata Sons before the National Company Law Tribunal. The shareholders alleged oppression and mismanagement against the dominant shareholders being the trustees of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trusts and Sir Ratan Tata Trust. 

Partner Surjendu Das left during the research period to go solo with his own supreme court advocate-on-record and arbitration practice.  

Latest disputes clients include Indian Paint Association, Matrix Partners India Investment, National Buildings Construction Corporation, Nestle India, SRS Investments Bengal Tiger and Thiess Minecs India Private. 

Singh & Associates

Singh & Associates is a full-service firm with offices in Bengaluru, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Gurugram. Its litigation and alternative dispute resolution team is one of its four core practice areas. The team had a very active year with arbitration work, while the Bangalore and Mumbai teams have begun growing its contentious infrastructure practice. The disputes group focuses on all types of litigation instituted and prosecuted within India and abroad, including commercial disputes, recovery proceedings, property disputes, infringement of intellectual property rights, constitutional matters, custody claims, banking claims, insolvency, criminal matters, white collar crimes and other disputes. 

The five main contacts for disputes at the firm are all experienced litigators in their respective areas: Founding partner Manoj Kumar Singh, joint managing partners Gunita Pahwa and Daizy Chawlaand senior partners Vijay Kumar Singh and Nilava Bandyopadhyay. 

In an infrastructure arbitration, the firm is acting for JWIL Water Infrastructure (JWIL) against the Uttarakhand Urban Sector Development Agency (UUSDA). JWIL was awarded a contract by UUSDA for laying out 440 kilometres of drinking water supply pipeline. The project was to be funded by the Uttarakhand government by loans from the Asian Development Bank. During the execution of the project, certain issues arose which resulted in UUSDA breaching its contract. Then, it went on to illegally terminate the contract and encash the bank guarantees given by JWIL. During the research period, the matter was ongoing and in the stage of final arguments 

The firm bid farewell to partner Rupesh Gupta last October when he left to establish his own practice.  

Some key clients of the firm are Cosmos Infra Engineering, Jindal group of companies, Kalpatru Group, Novartis, PNC Infratech, Sterlite Technologies and Themis Medicare. 

Singhania & Co

Best known for its commercial disputes, shipping and construction practices, Singhania & Co is based in Mumbai. The firm’s disputes group has specialisations in international commercial arbitration, domestic arbitration, insolvency and bankruptcy, and civil and commercial litigation. Industry sector strengths include shipping, oil and gas, construction and aviation. Offshore, the firm has an alliance with the Dubai office of Goodwins and Russian law firm, Maxima Legal.  

Firm founder and managing partner Krishnan Singhania serves as the key contact for all dispute resolution work.  

The team has been defending airline Aer Lingus against the Airport Authority of India before the Bombay High Court. The airport regulator is pursuing unpaid landing and parking charges that were agreed upon in a lease contract. The client had leased their aircraft to another airline and defendant, East West Airlines. The latter was declared defunct in 1996, and the AAI claimed it failed to make all the payments and pursued claims also with Aer Lingus. The firm so far has been successful in getting back the leased aircrafts and have flown them back to Europe.  

In an international arbitration, the firm is representing ThermopeutiX, which had entered into a consultancy agreement with Biorad Medisys Private to set up a catheter production facility in India. The dispute relates to the non-payment of the agreed monthly fee and quality of services required under the agreement. It is an India-seated international commercial arbitration matter and is at the stage of appointment of an arbitrator. 

Key clients of the firm include Doka India, IMS Ship Management, Sudhir Cranes and Vertive Energy.  

Krishnan Singhania 

He provides all-in-one solutions and good communications. 

Singularity Legal

Founded in 2017, Singularity Legal is a relatively new player in the market with a unique business model. It is billed as an international law firm representing regional clients in international disputes around the globe. Unlike conventional domestic firms that focus on legal services governed by Indian law, Singularity only handles international cross-border disputes and acts based on the various countries’ governing laws and transnational laws 

Partner Prateek Bagaria is the key contact.  

Although all the submission material is confidential, the team demonstrated recent experience in various sectors including energy and resources, construction and infrastructure, shipping, trade and insurance and private equity and venture capital. To date, the firm has worked on contentious matters in India, Israel, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Turkey and UAE. The firm hopes to shift its headquarters in the near future to Singapore and provide end-to-end transnational dispute services.   

SK Singhi & Co

SK Singhi & Co is a full-service law firm headquartered in Kolkata, and with offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bhubhaneshwar and Gurugram. Its commercial disputes and insolvency practices are recognised. 

Managing partner Surendra Singhi is the main practitioner handling contentious work. His practice focuses on dispute resolution, commercial litigation, and arbitration and conciliation.  

In one example of work, the firm acted for the Union Bank of India as the respondent to a writ petition that was filed challenging a sale notice the client had issued. The High Court of Kolkata dismissed the writ petition and directed the petitioner, a vegetable and flower seeds dealer, to approach the correct forum instead.   

The firm bolstered its litigation practice with the hiring of two senior associates last year.   

The firm’s major clients include Axis Finance, Bajaj Group, Birla Group, Dalmia Group, Edeilweiss Asset Reconstruction, HCL Infosystems, Jindal Stainless Steelway, Lux Industries, Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, State Bank of Mauritius and Union Bank of India.   

Solomon & Co

Solomon & Co was founded in 1909 and brings rich history and experience to its dispute resolution offering. It has offices in Mumbai and Pune. Jonathan Solomon, who heads the dispute resolution team, has over 50 years of experience and has specifically been appointed by the Bombay High Court to assist in several high stakes litigations in the past. The firm’s commercial, construction, insurance, insolvency, intellectual property and arbitration work has kept the team busy.  

Senior partner Jonathan Solomon is the main dispute resolution contact. His practice strengths are civil litigation, arbitration, real estate, trusts partnerships and insurance. Managing partner Aaron Solomon is another key figure within the team.  

In a recent highlight, the firm acted for Hewlett Packard Financial Services against Vayam Technologies to enforce its claim in arbitration. The client received a successful award to the full extent of its claim, along with interest and costs. Additionally, the team represented the client in its defence before the Delhi High Court and assisted it in filing an application to set aside the ex-parte injunction order restraining the invocation of bank guarantees.  

Anagha Subramaniam 

She understands issues and how to resolve them.” 

Spice Route Legal

Spice Route Legal was established in 2016 and has offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi. The litigation, dispute resolution and risk mitigation practice of the full-service firm experienced robust growth in the past year and it now accounts for 20% of the firm’s total revenue. The firm is recognised for its intellectual property work.  

Key figures within the team for disputes include partners Mathew Chacko and Praveen Raju.  

In a noteworthy case, the firm represented crowdfunding platform Milaap against internet giant Google. Milaap claimed that Google was using its ad words search to direct its traffic to competitor, Impact Guru. The team sought a first-of-its-kind injunction against Google and Impact Guru from passing off the mark ‘Milaap’ by using it in its web address and keywords. The Bangalore City Civil Court granted the injunction.  

During the research period, the firm defended Indian company Neogen Chemicals against a trademark infringement suit filed by US-based Neogen Corporation. The latter claimed its company had significant trans-border reputation within India and that the client was passing off the trademark as its own. The firm made the claim that the Indian entity had a much wider market presence and therefore there was no grounds for passing-off the Neogen mark in India. The outcome of this matter would act as a significant precedent in determining the geographical limitations of trademark usage and lay down the criterion for what can actually be stated as passing-off a trademark. 

Counsel Aashima Johur left the firm last year to establish a solo practice as an advocate and legal consultant.  

Simplifi Softech India and Teaxpress Private are recent disputes clients of the firm.   

Mathew Chacko 

He is very adept at technology law, and does meticulous research and planning. He is patient and empathetic with clients. 

Tandon & Company

The core disputes specialty at Tandon & Co is intellectual property, though it does offer a range of services in the areas of commercial litigation, real estate, product liability and recall, and contentious banking and project finance matters. The firm has offices in Delhi and Mumbai.  

Founding partner Kunal Tandon is the main contact.  

The firm is representing Bennet Cole & Co to enforce its intellectual property rights in the series mark Times in relation to its television channels, print and digital media. The opposing party, Brand Value Communications (BVC), sought to misuse and encash the mark by adopting a similar name for a similar genre of television channel. Tandon sought enforcement of the word ‘Times’, which was being aggressively opposed by BVC, which stating that the word ‘Times’ is descriptive. The firm was able to seek partial enforcement upon arguing that the word has acquired secondary meaning and distinctiveness due to its long usage and association with the client.  

In another interesting copyright dispute, the firm is acting for the defendant Viacom 18 against the plaintiff Manish Kumar. Kumar has sought rights in the concept and loose script of a reality television show based on musical journey of musicians and composers across the country. Viacom 18 is opposing this on the ground that there is no copyright in a concept.  

Key clients of the firm include Disney, DNA Telecommunications, Ernst & Young, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, India Tiger Sports, Reliance Broadcasting, Sony and Viacom 18.  

TLC Legal

TLC Legal is a sophisticated tax boutique that brings together lawyers, tax consultants and chartered accountants. Many on the legal side have additional accounting qualifications. The firm specialises in advisory and litigation relating to indirect tax covering from GST, customs, central excise, service tax and VAT to foreign trade policy, FEMA and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The firm has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.  

The main contacts at the firm are all indirect tax specialists including managing partner Vipin Jain, senior partner Vishal Agrawal and partner Aqeel Sheerazi 

One success for the firm came with its representation and defence of Suguna Foods in a case against the Commissioner of Customs Chennai at the Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) stage. The crux of the case made out against the client was that its imported poultry feed premix did not adhere to the value addition criteria mandated under the India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) and accordingly the claim to exemption was untenable. The team achieved the win for its client by bringing on record certain facts which were not recorded correctly in impugned order and presented a clear, complete set of facts while presenting the case before CESTAT.  

In another victory for the firm, it acted for the appellant Vedanta, a copper concentrates importer, in a matter relating to refund claims filed by the client. The respondent raised the issue of whether the grant of such a refund would result in unjust enrichment to Vedanta. The CESTAT observed that there was no dispute regarding the fact that the final product price is London Metals Exchange (LME)-based and has no relation to the cost of the raw materials including the customs duty. The CESTAT ruled in favour of the client, holding that in cases where the final price is based on the LME price, the issue of unjust enrichment is not applicable.  

Other clients that engaged the firm for their tax disputes work include Helios Food Additives, Marico, Ratnamani Metals & Tubes and Welspun Corp.   

Trilegal

Trilegal is a prominent full-service firm with a sizable team of seasoned dispute resolution experts. The firm excels in all traditional corporate areas, but has particular disputes strengths in competition, commercial litigation, international arbitration, insolvency, tax and white-collar crime. The growth of the practice was evident with the recent promotion of two senior associates to the partnership last year.  

Dispute resolution head and partner Sitesh Mukherjee leads a team of disputes-focused partners that includes Shankh Sengupta, Ashish Bhan, Jafar Alam, Tine Abraham and Anuradha Agnihotri. Other key figures are partners with practice specialties that overlap with the disputes group, such as competition specialist Nisha Kaur Uberoi, banking specialist Ameya Khandge, and tax specialists Himanshu Sinha and Samsuddha Majumder.  

A highlight arbitration matter saw the firm represent Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and its Indian subsidiary, TAQA India Power Ventures (TAQA India). After several disputes between TAQA India and Himachal Sorang Power (HSP), and NCC and subsidiary NCC Infrastructure Holdings (NCCIH) relating to a securities purchase agreement and certain obligations of NCC and NCCIH under the agreement. The SIAC tribunal passed a foreign award in favour of the firm’s clients, TAQA India and HSP. During the submission period, Trilegal was advising and representing TAQA India and HSP in enforcement proceedings before the Delhi High Court in respect of this award arising out of this SIAC arbitration.  

The team successfully represented Eight Capital and one of its portfolio companies, Patel Engineering, in more than 15 references of arbitral disputes arising out of the Koyna Hydroelectric Project initiated by the Government of Maharashtra through its irrigation department.  

Trilegal is known for its loyal international client base, though it also has many heavyweight domestic clients. Some of these include AgustaWestland International, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Embraer, ICICI Bank, Max Life Insurance Company, Rabobank Singapore, Samsung Electronics, Tata Communications Payment Solutions and Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation.  

Vaish Associates Advocates

The established Vaish Associates Advocates is a high-end tax boutique specialising in direct tax. Its litigation capabilities have won market respect. The areas the team cover are domestic tax, income tax, international tax and transfer pricing issues.  

Direct tax specialists Neeraj Jain, Rohit Jain, Gaurav Jain and Kavita Jha are the partners in charge of tax controversy.  

In a highlight case, the firm represented Maruti Suzuki India during the research period. The team successfully argued for the tribunal to accept a lower tax distribution rate and obtained a favourable interim ruling for the client where the additional ground of appeal was admitted by the tribunal for adjudication. The first-of-its-kind interim ruling will have an industry-wide impact favourably affecting several corporates across the country.  

The team also featured in a Delhi Income Tax Appellate Tribunal case, successfully acting for Mitsubishi Electric Automotive India. The tribunal held that because the taxpayer was a distributor, the resale price method could only be applied to benchmark the transaction of imports. The matter also involved issues related to application of the Berry ratio as the profit level indicator. 

Key clients of the firm have remained loyal for over 20 years. Some of these are Aricent, Continental, Eicher Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Goodyear, Guardian, Hero MotoCorp and Whirlpool.  

Veritas Legal

Boutique commercial firm Veritas Legal has steadily grown since its establishment in 2015. Its dispute resolution team handles contentious corporate and commercial matters across all practice areas, offering litigation and arbitration services. It has developed an active white-collar crime practice and has strong reviews for its real estate offering.  

The key contact at the firm is head of litigation and dispute resolution, Rahul Dwarkadas 

The firm represented GVK Airports Holdings (GVK) in a case filed by Adani Properties (AP). The counterparty was seeking to specifically perform a share purchase agreement entered into with another defendant, Bid Services, in respect of the same shares which had been offered to the other shareholders of Mumbai International Airports (MIA), its joint venture company, under the right of first refusal that had been exercised by the client. AP contended that GVK had failed to perform even after exercising their rights, which led to Bid Services holding onto the shares as constructive trustees on the client’s behalf. AP pushed that Bid Services had to now enforce GVK’s rights for AP in respect of MIA and exercise its rights under the shareholders agreement.  

The firm successfully defended Hotel Leela Ventures in its dispute with Indian hotelier, ITC. During the course of a sell-off to reduce debt, ITC, as a minority shareholder of Hotel Leela, challenged the sale by arguing it was against the interests of the minority shareholders. ITC originally filed a petition for oppression and mismanagement, and then filed a complaint with the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Veritas successfully got SEBI to dismiss the claim. ITC filed an appeal, which was also dismissed. ITC is still attempting to challenge the sale by filing an appeal before the Supreme Court.  

Client feedback 

The firm is very well-versed in land laws and able to give practical advice, as well as be nimble in handling matters. The firm has a very good turnaround time. Compared to other firms I’ve engaged, Veritas Legal is able to quickly come up to speed on matters, identify issues and think out of the box to give effective relief to clients. – Real estate 

Rahul Dwarkadas 

Rahul is quick to identify the problem and come up with a solution. He understands our business and therefore can provide effective relief. Over the years Rahul has become a trusted advisor.”