Par panel to examine Antrix-Devas deal

The controversial Antrix-Devas deal will now come under the scrutiny of a Parliamentary panel.

New Delhi: The controversial Antrix-Devas
deal will now come under the scrutiny of a Parliamentary panel.

Parliament`s Committee on Estimates has decided to
examine the allocation of S-band spectrum by Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO) with special reference to the
Antrix-Devas deal, an official said.

The government had last month annulled the controversial
deal between ISRO`s commercial arm Antrix Corporation and
Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for lease of space segment in

Under the deal, Antrix was to provide 70 MHz of the
scarce S-Band space segment to Devas for its digital
multimedia services. This was to be done by leasing 90 per
cent of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that
are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to
pay Antrix a total of USD 300 million over 12 years.

The agreement was signed on January 28, 2005.
Consequently, the Department of Space (DoS) got the Cabinet
approval for the building of GSAT-6 at a cost of Rs.269 crore
and GSAT-6A at a cost of Rs. 147 crore under the Commission`s
delegated powers.

There were complaints about the manner in which the deal was entered into and the way in which it was being operationalised.
It was found that the DoS got the approvals for building
the satellites without making any reference to the fact that
they were to be utilised primarily for Devas` benefit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has strongly rejected any
suggestions that his office continued talks with Devas on its
controversial after the Space Commission decided to scrap it.
Singh had ordered a review of the deal by a committee
comprising B K Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission and
aerospace scientist Roddam Narsimha.

The committee had submitted its report to the Prime
Minister on March 12.

Singh had asked Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar to
examine the report and make recommendations on the follow-up
action within 15 days.


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