Cairn Energy has filed a case in a US court for enforcing the arbitration award of $1.2bn it had won in a tax dispute against the Indian government.

The UK-based company won the arbitration award in December 2020 from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICJ tribunal had asked the Indian government to pay damages of $1.2bn plus interests and costs to the oil and gas firm.

Cairn Energy filed the case in the Washington DC Federal court in what is seen as a move to put pressure on the Indian government to pay the amount, reported Reuters.

As per the filing seen by the publication, Cairn Energy asked the court to recognise and confirm the ICJ award, which includes payments that are due from 2014 and also the interest that is compounded semi-annually.

The case in the US court is said to be a first step in the company’s plans to recover its dues from the Indian government.

The oil and gas firm could potentially seize Indian assets if the government did not honour the arbitration award, reported the publication citing a source who is familiar with the arbitration case.

The source, has been quoted by the publication, as saying: “If Cairn wins the case, it will be a step towards attaching and seizing Indian assets overseas, especially in the U.S.”

India-based news agency PTI, citing undisclosed sources, reported that Cairn Energy had also filed similar cases to register the arbitration award in the UK and the Dutch courts. The company is also reportedly looking to file a case in Canada as well.

In late January, it was reported by the publication that Cairn Energy could be offered the Ratna R-Series field or any other surrendered oil field by the Indian government as an alternative for the arbitration award.

The dispute between the parties began after the Indian government in 2014 demanded the oil and gas firm to pay past taxes of over INR100bn ($1.37bn) over an internal business reorganisation under the 2012 retrospective tax law.