CBI names former ISRO chairman in Antrix-Devas chargesheet
The CBI chargesheeted former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair and other senior employees of ISRO for their alleged role in the Antrix-Devas deal. They have been charged with facilitating wrongful gains worth Rs.578 crore for Devas Multimedia Limited. Former Additional Secretary, Department of Space Veena S. Rao, former ISRO Director A. Bhaskar Narayana Rao and Antrix's ED, K.R. Sridhara Murthi have also been charged.
Antrix, Devas enter contract
In 2005, ISRO's commercial arm- Antrix Corporation and Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia entered into a contract for manufacturing and launching two satellites to utilize Space Band Spectrum (S-band) available to India. The UPA Government had annulled the deal amid the '2G Scam' following a Cabinet Committee on Security's decision in 2011. Questions over handing the spectrum to a new firm were also raised.
US-based investors move a case against Antrix
The Antrix-Devas contract was for the 70 MHz S-band frequency that caters to multimedia services through leasing most transponders on GSAT-6 and GSAT-7 satellites for a period of 12 years. Following the annulment, Devas' US-based investors filed a case on Antrix.
International Chamber of Commerce tribunal awards damages to Devas
The Antrix-Devas arbitration began in Jun'13 and reached the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in Sep'14. The International Chamber of Commerce's tribunal awarded $672 million pre-award interest, and post-award interest at 18% per annum to Devas in Sep'15. British and French courts also recognized the tribunal's award holding it as 'enforceable'. In Nov'15, Antrix filed an arbitration case against the ICC's decision in Bengaluru.
CBI registers case against Antrix, Devas
In 2014, NDA government asked the CBI to take up the Antrix-Devas case. In Mar'15, CBI filed a corruption case against officials of Antrix and Devas; the deal resulted in a Rs.578 crore loss to the Government. The Enforcement Directorate also registered a case against Devas to investigate the flow of funds under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act.
Major setback for the Indian Government in Antrix-Devas contract case
In a major setback to the Indian Government, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against it over the annulment of the Antrix-Devas contract. The Indian Government was directed by the PCA tribunal to pay 40% of the investment made by Devas Multimedia's foreign investors as compensation. Antrix Corporation is the Indian Space Research Organization's commercial arm; Devas Multimedia is a Bengaluru-based startup.
Financial compensation should be paid after the annulment
Lawrence Babbio, Chairman of Devas Multimedia, said in a statement, "With today's PCA award, two international tribunals have now unanimously agreed that financial compensation should be paid after the annulment of Devas' rights."
Tribunal court's award is being examined: DoS
The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal addresses agreement disputes that are signed under United Nations Commission's rules on the International Trade Law. The Department of Space acknowledged the PCA's order and said the award would be examined after which the Government would take an appropriate recourse. Indian Government's security interest provisions of the agreement aren't applicable to this case up to an extent.
Compensation likely to be around $1 billion
The Department of Space stated: "The limited liability of compensation shall be limited to 40% of the value of the investment. The precise quantum has not been determined as yet." The compensation is likely to be around $1 billion.
Second international tribunal ruling on the Devas-Antrix deal
The DoS said that the tribunal court issued their award regarding the UNCITRAL arbitration between the Indian Government and Devas Multimedia's Mauritius-based investors under the Indo-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement. It added the GoI reiterated that essential security interests were invoked through a valid, well-reasoned and proper Cabinet Committee on Security decision. This was the second international tribunal ruling on the Devas-Antrix deal annulment.