CAG goes after another spectrum deal

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by SHASH2K2, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Hard on the heels of its explosive investigations of the 2G spectrum allotments made in 2008 by the Department of Telecommunications, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has started inquiries into a 2005 agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd. and Devas Multimedia Private Ltd.

    The agreement relates to ISRO's launching of two satellites for Devas but automatically bestows on the latter a large hidden benefit: unbridled use of 70 MHz of the scarce S-band spectrum over a 20-year period.

    ISRO is under the Department of Space (DoS), which is directly in the Prime Minister's charge.

    Business Line learns that according to preliminary CAG estimates, this spectrum largesse to a private customer could have caused the exchequer a loss in excess of Rs. 2 lakh crore. According to the contract with Devas, Antrix would have earned $11 million a year per satellite for 12 years.

    By comparison, the presumptive loss incurred in the allocation of 2G spectrum by the DoT, as estimated by the CAG, is Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

    Under the deal, Devas Multimedia is to get access to 70 Mhz of broadband spectrum in the 2500 Mhz band. This was once used by Doordarshan to deliver programmes by satellite to all parts of the country but is now considered to be of enormous commercial value for high-speed, terrestrial mobile communications. In 2010, the Union government got nearly Rs. 67,719 crore from the auction of just 15 Mhz of similar airwaves for 3G mobile services.

    Devas Multimedia is a company in which Deutsche Telekom is a minority equity stakeholder. Dr. M.G. Chandrasekhar, Devas Multimedia Chairman, is a former Scientific Secretary at ISRO.

    Although the Space Commission in July 2010 strongly objected to the contract and recommended that it be scrapped, this has not happened. However, Devas Multimedia has been given some spectrum to conduct trials.

    According to the contract, copies of which are available with Business Line and The Hindu, Devas Multimedia is entitled to get a total of 70 Mhz of the S-band spectrum on lease for 20 years. The contract requires ISRO to build and launch two communications satellites — GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A — at a further cost of Rs 2,000 crore. Devas Multimedia will get to use 10 transponders on each of the satellites.

    The CAG is reported to have asked for an explanation from the DoS on the preferential allocation of S-band spectrum without DoS/Antrix going through a competitive bidding process; on diverting public resources out of ISRO's budget towards two customer-specific satellites for Devas Multimedia; and misinforming regulators about the project's financial aspects and its full commercial implications.

    The contract, unlike others ISRO has signed in the past, places no restrictions on Devas Multimedia for onward lease of spectrum.

    On May 31, 2010, Business Line first reported the preferential maiden allotment of S-band spectrum to Devas Multimedia, which planned to launch digital satellite multimedia broadcast services (D-SMB) in India using that space infrastructure.

    It is the first time the S-band, which ranges from 2500 to 2690 Mhz, has been opened up to the private sector. And this has been done on the quiet.

    CAG’s concerns over deal

    ● S-band spectrum was allocated without inviting competitive bids

    ● Organisational control systems were not followed

    ● The Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet, and the Space Commission have not been properly informed about the contract details, including the underestimation of ISRO’s costs

    ● Public resources were diverted to build two customer-specific satellites

    ● Devas Multimedia’s terms deviate from those in past commercial contracts of ISRO/Antrix
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The pandora's box is revealing cans and cans of worm.
     
  4. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    According to top officials in the Department of Telecommunications, the spectrum allocated to Devas Multimedia to conduct trials of its broadband services is likely to be withdrawn soon. If that happens, Devas will have to apply for a full-fledged licence for spectrum usage. Devas had to apply for trial spectrum to conduct pilot studies for its services. Since ISRO is yet to launch the two satellites on which Devas has taken up capacity, the company does not yet have access to the spectrum that comes along with the transponders.

    DoT officials argue that at a time when the government is looking to price all spectrum, it will be difficult for Devas Multimedia to get airwaves without making additional payments. The other option for the company is to use unlicensed spectrum in the 2400 Mhz band or 3300 Mhz band. But that can result in interference with the signals of other users. Even if Devas is ready to pay for spectrum, the question of the basis of the pricing will remain.

    Although the company plans primarily to deploy satellite technology to offer broadband, it wants to use terrestrial spectrum for indoor and dense-area coverage. Right from 1995 it is the Department of Telecommunications that has decided who can use the airwaves to provide voice and data services. In the case of Devas Multimedia, the company has got into a partnership with ISRO — which would be perceived to be a backdoor entry into the broadband market.
     
  5. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Globally 2.5 Ghz band is used for 4G services and is worth billions of dollars

    The S-band spectrum, which is part of the Devas-ISRO deal, is extremely valuable for mobile broadband services, in terms of usage as well as money. The frequency, also known as 2.5 Ghz band, is globally used for providing mobile broadband services using fourth generation technologies such as WiMax and Long Term Evolution (LTE).

    This frequency band is unique because it has a substantial amount of spectrum (190 MHz) that can be put to use for mobile services. All other spectrum bands up to 3.5 GHz include significantly smaller amounts of spectrum for terrestrial mobile communication, or are not available.

    In India, of the 190 Mhz, the Department of Space was given 150 Mhz — 30 years ago — for Broadcast Satellite Service and Mobile Satellite Service. Twenty Mhz was recently given to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd for offering broadband spectrum. BSNL and MTNL were asked to pay Rs. 12,847 crore for their 20 Mhz. But Devas is getting access to 70 Mhz in the same band for just over Rs. 1,000 crore.

    Bonanza

    Globally, this frequency band has been put up for auction in many countries and has fetched governments billions of dollars. In 2009, three operators together paid $HK 1.53 billion for 90 MHz of radio spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. A few months ago, Finland-based mobile operator TeliaSonera launched 4G mobile services based on LTE technology in this band. Operators in several other countries such as Brazil and South Africa are on the verge of using the S-band after the World Radiocommunications Conference 2000, held under the aegis of the International Telecommunication Union, designated the 2.5 Ghz band for mobile services.

    Harmonious usage

    The usability of spectrum depends on how harmonious it is with global usage. That is because mobile device makers and network equipment manufacturers can focus on developing products for a specific radio frequency for every country. If each country were to have its own plan for using spectrum, then telecom networks and devices would become very complex and expensive.

    So if most countries are moving towards adopting 2.5 Ghz for telecom services, India will lose out if the satellite agency continues to hold on to it. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has already recommended that it would like to review the usage of this frequency band by the incumbents and refarm it for commercial mobile services.
     
  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Now, 'scam' reported in allotment of spectrum by ISRO


    NEW DELHI: Terming as "very serious" reports alleging that ISRO benefited a private firm through allocation of scarce S-band spectrum without a bidding process, Left parties on Monday demanded a thorough probe into the "new scam".

    "This is a new issue. The ISRO is under the department of space which is under Prime Minister ( Manmohan Singh). This is also a new scam," CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

    CPI national secretary D Raja said the new revelations were "very serious", a view echoed by senior RSP leader Abani Roy who demanded a JPC into the matter.

    Media reports claimed that the Comptroller and Auditor General has initiated inquiries into ISRO's agreement with a Bangalore-based firm for launch of two satellites besides allegedly providing 70 MHz of S-band spectrum for a period of 20 years without going through a bidding process.

    The report quoted the preliminary CAG estimates that the spectrum allocation could have caused the exchequer a loss in excess of Rs two lakh crore.

    "The revelations have added a new dimension to the 2G spectrum scam. The ISRO is directly under the control of department of space headed by the Prime Minister. It is very serious as ISRO deals with space and it has implications on our security," Raja said.

    He said the issue will be discussed among the four Left parties.

    Roy said the Left will "definitely" demand inclusion of the "new scam" in the ambit of JPC. "Whether it should be a separate JPC or it should be incorporated in the 2G spectrum issue has to be studied," he said.


     
  7. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    Actually carry though with prosecution on one scam ,
    CWG scam , 2g scam and now this

    India has scams daily , bringing them to light does not change a dam thing
    Make an example of at least one.
     
  8. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    UPA Staring at Yet Another Scam, Cost 200,000 Crore to Exchequer!

    From Press Trust of India (PTI)

    Government was on Monday faced with another suspected scam which can cost the exchequer upto Rs two lakh crore concerning a deal between ISRO and a private company and in a quick response it was announced that the pact was under review.

    After a news report this morning that ISRO's commercial arm -- Antrix Corporation -- has entered into a deal with Devas Multimedia Services that allegedly confers unbridled use of 70 MHz of scarce S-band spectrum over a 20 year-period, the Department of Space came out with a late night statement.

    "The Department (of Space) wishes to clarify that the Agreement entered into by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, and M/s. Devas on January 28, 2005 is already under review by the DoS and the government will take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard public interest. A decision on the matter is likely to be taken soon," it said.

    Devas is owned by M G Chandrasekhar, former Scientific Secretary, ISRO.

    The DoS statement climaxed a day of strong attacks by opposition parties which targetted the government and demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The DoS comes directly under the Prime Minister.

    Earlier in the day, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said its attention has been drawn to reports appearing in media regarding audit being undertaken by Audit and Accounts Department of DoS. The report said according to preliminary estimates by CAG this spectrum "largesse" to a private party could cost the exchequer in excess of Rs two lakh crore.

    "The news item gives the impression as if our audit has been finalised. This office clarifies that audit of certain activities of DoS is under way.

    "Very preliminary queries have been raised which are yet to be replied by that department. Since the audit is at very preliminary stage, it can by no stretch of imagination, be concluded that information as given in the media reports are findings of this department," the CAG statement said.

    Reacting to the media report, political parties attacked the government saying the matter was "very serious" and demanded a thorough probe into the "new scam".

    BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters at the party briefing that the this was a "very serious scandal as it involves a very unique and rare spectrum. The Department of Space is directly under the Prime Minister. He should immediately clarify his stand on the whole issue".

    "We demand a comprehensive inquiry to establish the criminality in the whole matter. We also demand recovery of the lost revenue," she said.

    Left parties said the news reports pointed towards a "new scam" and demanded a "thorough probe" into the matter.

    "This is a new issue. The ISRO is under the Department of Space which is under Prime Minister. This is also a new scam," CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.

    CPI National Secretary D Raja said the new revelations were "very serious", a view echoed by senior RSP leader Abani Roy who demanded that the matter be brought under the JPC into 2G spectrum allocations.

    Congress refused to comment on the merit of the case saying it was for Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to examine any matter that causes a loss to the exchequer.

    "There is a standard procedure. Whenever the CAG finds something that has caused loss to the government, it automatically goes to the PAC. I hope this matter also goes to the PAC," Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said.

    http://www.zeenews.com/news685647.html
     
  9. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    To put it shortly, M G Chandrasekhar is sitting on US $50 billion worth of India's s-band spectrum, which will easily make him the richest Indian over time.
     
  10. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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  11. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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  12. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    NEW DELHI: Indian space agency ISRO shielded the government from rising heat over its controversial contract to allocate costly airwaves cheap to a private firm saying that Cabinet was not informed of the deal.

    Speaking to the media on Tuesday, ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan said the revocation of contract with Devas, a Bangalore-based firm with which the agency's commerical arm Antrix was to build two satellites, was underway.

    But the damage-control exercise that saw the Indian Space Research Organization chief rushing to Delhi failed to answer how the contract survived a succession of red flags raised by no less than three ministries.

    On June 14, 2010, the department of telecom advised the department of space to reconsider the deal with Devas. In November the same year, finance ministry objected to the Rs 600 crore contract that would allow use of transponders to provide earth-based broadband services.

    Top sources said apart from telecom and finance ministries, the law ministry had outright recommended that the contract be scrapped as it felt the provision to provide 70 MHz of S-band airwaves valued at hundreds of crores was improper.

    The spectrum was awarded during the tenure of Radhakrishnan's predecessor G Madhavan Nair, who headed ISRO from 2003 to 2009. Nair was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2009.

    While ISRO sought to deflect the heat away from the government, the opposition remained focused on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being in charge of space, which like atomic energy is traditionally the PM's Cabinet brief.

    Questioning an official statement put out by PMO that there was no loss of revenue as no decision had been taken to allocate "space segment" spectrum to either Antrix or Devas, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked whether the PM had tried to ensure reasonable pricing of spectrum. He asked what Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had been doing when he was in charge of space as a minister in PMO.

    CPM's Sitaram Yechury for the second consecutive day focused on the fact that the department of space has been Prime Minister's responsibility.

    According to an agency report from Mumbai, Maharashtra chief minister washed his hands off the scam. He said: "In 2010, when I was a member of the space commission, this issue came up. I recall that some decisions on the issue were taken in 2005... I am not aware of this because I did not handle it."

    In Delhi, Radhakrishnan said the department of space had written to the Prime Minister's Office for cancelling the Devas contract in July 2010.

    He said DoS began a review of the contract as early as December 2009 and the law ministry was consulted before recommending termination. According to the agreement Antrix worked out with Devas, ISRO would launch two satellites for the joint venture to help roll out innovative technologies.

    However, the Cabinet has to be apprised about every satellite launch. This was not done in this case. Asked if the Cabinet had been misinformed or kept in the dark, Radhakrishnan, who is space secretary as well as ISRO chief, said although 90% of the proposed satellite usage was for the joint venture, only 10% was exclusively for ISRO.

    He avoided queries on whether Devas had the expertise to roll out technology as promised on the day the contract was finalized.

    Former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan and member of the Planning Commission — who addressing the media along with Radhakrishnan — said the JV partner came with a consortium having requisite capability and expertise.

    But these explanations skip the fact that the consortium partner came on board at a much later date after the deal was signed with Antrix. PMO's defence is also based on the deal not being operationalized as satellites have not been launched and licences for earth-based services were not granted.

    The proposed system utilizes high-powered satellites with spot-beam technology, a first in India, to deliver advanced Internet-based multimedia and interactive data services to hand-held mobiles through an unique IP-based platform.

    Sources said Radhakrishnan has taken a view that the agreement with Devas was one-sided favouring the private firm and should be terminated.

    Meanwhile, CAG has clarified that audit of certain activities of the department of space is under way. Very preliminary queries have been raised which are yet to be replied by that department, it added.

    Read more: ISRO takes blame, says deal with Devas being revoked - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...revoked/articleshow/7454461.cms#ixzz1DOr91N9i
     
  13. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    NEW DELHI: Devas Multimedia, whose deal with Antrix for S-band spectrum has triggered a storm, today said it had all "appropriate approvals" from the government for its business.

    Devas President and CEO Ramachandran Viswanathan said it still has the legally binding agreement with Antrix Corporation and was awaiting delivery of the contracted space segment capacity from ISRO.

    "Devas has fulfilled all of its obligations in respect of the agreement over the past six years and now awaits the delivery of the contracted space segment capacity, which is more than two years delayed per the agreement," he said in a statement.

    He said Devas had proceeded with the project after required consents and approvals were obtained within the government, culminating with Space Commission and Union Cabinet, and the same were confirmed by Antrix in February 2006.

    Ramanathan said Devas has secured appropriate approvals from the government related to conducting its business.

    "All foreign direct investment into Devas has also been with due FIPB approvals and in full compliance with government regulations," he said.

    Devas has developed technologies that are essential for the delivery of advanced services, including societal, strategic and commercial applications, through ISRO's GSAT 6 and 6A satellites, he said.

    Ramanathan said the association of former ISRO officials with Devas was in full compliance with the government rules.


    Read more: S-band spectrum: Devas defends deal with Antrix - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-Antrix/articleshow/7467126.cms#ixzz1DYliXIcr
     
  14. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    NEW DELHI: The BJP today questioned the composition of a high-powered panel to review various aspects of lease of scarce S-band spectrum by ISRO and wondered how B K Chaturvedi could probe the issue when he was himself among those who had approved the agreement as cabinet secretary in 2005.

    "Is it right if decisions taken by some people are investigated by the same people," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman asked, claiming Chaturvedi as cabinet secretary was one of those who had approved the agreement between ISRO's commercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia.

    She said the BJP was "very worried" that every decision the government was taking to answer allegations was turning out to be an attempt to "cover up".

    The two-member committee, headed by B K Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission, will review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the Agreement between Antrix and Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd, an official statement today said.

    It will also review the adequacy of procedures and approval processes followed by Antrix, ISRO and Department of Space, and suggest improvements and changes.

    "It seems the objective of the new panel set up by the government is an attempt to cover up," Sitharaman said.

    She also said the steps taken by the government on black money seem to be "half hearted".

    "Why is Hassan Ali free...BJP is glad that the Supreme Court has asked the government to ensure that he (Ali) does not leave the country. Till now that guarantee was not coming through from the government. The steps taken so far have given the impression that that they covered up more than they answered," the BJP spokesperson said.

    Alleging that the government was not owning up its failures in decision making, she said, "On the contrary they are coming up with statements which are worse and confusing the situation."

    Claiming that government's "failure to behave in an accountable fashion was very worrying", she demanded a response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party.

    Media reports had stated that the Department of Space had allocated 70 MHz of S-Band spectrum to Devas Multimedia for Rs 1,000 crore. The actual value of this was estimated to be around Rs 2 lakh crore, the reports claimed.

    The PMO had, however, denied the reports, saying no decision has been taken and hence charges of revenue loss were without any basis.

    Read more: BJP surprised BK Chaturvedi in panel reviewing S-band deal - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...nd-deal/articleshow/7467680.cms#ixzz1DYmSyfV3
     
  15. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    A country deserve its leadership indeed we are a pathetic country to tolerate such shit but then baap ka maal looto sab apna apna dekho,not any use to talk about this. Scam after scam now its a competition which party that can bring the largest scam:)
     
  16. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    ISRO does damage control after S-band deal row






    India's apex space policy body on Saturday set in motion a process to restructure Antrix Corporation, ISRO's commercial arm, against the backdrop of a controversial two-satellite deal it had struck with a private firm. The Space Commission, at a meeting in New Delhi, formed a search committee to

    identify a Chairman-cum-Managing Director for Antrix. Secretary, Department of Space is also the Chairman of Space Commission, ISRO and Antrix Corporation. Currently, K Radhakrishnan holds the posts.
    After the new appointment, Radhkrishnan would no longer hold the top post in Antrix. Antrix would continue to have a technocrat as its head but for the first time, since its creation in 1992, the person would not be the ISRO chief.
    Radhakrishnan said the decision to have a CMD fo Antrix was taken considering its business expansion and a newly
    conferred 'mini-ratna' status.
    However, he maintained that there was no complete restructuring of ISRO's commercial arm.
    A three-member search committee is expected to suggest three names for the newly created post. Till now Antrix had a
    Managing Director K Sridhara Murthy, who retired in September last year. An executive director has been appointed to look into the day-to-day affairs of Antrix till the new incumbent takes charge.
    The Space Commission was also apprised of the action taken in connection with termination of Antrix's two satellite
    deal with Devas Multimedia which media reports claimed could have caused loss of Rs two lakh crore to the exchequer.
    Radhakrishnan said ISRO had circulated a detailed note on the deal with Devas which was under consideration of the
    Cabinet Committee on Security.
    Antrix stands to pay penalties on two counts if the deal is cancelled, firstly on the delay in delivery of the
    satellite and the annual payment for the life of the satellite.
    Radhakrishnan said the contract needed to be annulled given the requirement of the S-band spectrum for strategic
    purposes.
    He said the demand of the strategic sector for the scarce spectrum had increased five-fold in the last five years. The Space Commission, at its meeting in July last year, had recommended annulment of the contract with Devas under
    which the private firm, floated by ex-ISRO officials, was to get on lease 90 per cent of the S-band transponders on two
    satellites -- GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A for its novel Digital Broadcast Audio Service.
    Antrix had signed the contract in January 2005 and had got sanction of the Space Commission and the Union Cabinet for the two satellites without informing them that bulk capacity would be leased to Devas Multimedia.
    In December 2009, ISRO ordered a review of the deal and subsequently Space Commission recommended its annulment on July 2, 2010. The Commission had also suggested restructuring Antrix and a report on the matter had been submitted to ISRO subsequently.


     
  17. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Antrix to have new Chairman


    India’s apex space policy body on Saturday set in motion a process to restructure Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial arm, against the backdrop of a controversial two-satellite deal it had struck with a private firm.
    The Space Commission, at a meeting here, formed a search committee to identify a Chairman-cum-Managing Director for Antrix.
    Secretary, Department of Space is also the Chairman of Space Commission, ISRO and Antrix Corporation. Currently, K. Radhakrishnan holds the posts.
    After the new appointment, Mr. Radhkrishnan would no longer hold the top post in Antrix.
    Antrix would continue to have a technocrat as its head but for the first time, since its creation in 1992, the person would not be the ISRO chief.
    Mr. Radhakrishnan said the decision to have a CMD for Antrix was taken considering its business expansion and a newly conferred ‘mini-ratna’ status.
    However, he maintained that there was no complete restructuring of ISRO’s commercial arm.
    A three-member search committee is expected to suggest three names for the newly created post. Till now Antrix had a Managing Director K. Sridhara Murthy, who retired in September last year. An executive director has been appointed to look into the day-to-day affairs of Antrix till the new incumbent takes charge.
    The Space Commission was also apprised of the action taken in connection with termination of Antrix’s two-satellite deal with Devas Multimedia, which media reports claimed could have caused loss of Rs two lakh crore to the exchequer.
    Mr. Radhakrishnan said ISRO had circulated a detailed note on the deal with Devas which was under consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security.
    Antrix stands to pay penalties on two counts if the deal is cancelled, firstly on the delay in delivery of the satellite and the annual payment for the life of the satellite.
    Mr. Radhakrishnan said the contract needed to be annulled given the requirement of the S-band spectrum for strategic purposes.
    He said the demand of the strategic sector for the scarce spectrum had increased five-fold in the last five years.
    The Space Commission, at its meeting in July last year, had recommended annulment of the contract with Devas under which the private firm, floated by ex-ISRO officials, was to get on lease 90 per cent of the S-band transponders on two satellites — GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A for its novel Digital Broadcast Audio Service.
    Antrix had signed the contract in January 2005 and had got sanction of the Space Commission and the Union Cabinet for the two satellites without informing them that bulk capacity would be leased to Devas Multimedia.
    In December 2009, ISRO ordered a review of the deal and subsequently Space Commission recommended its annulment on July 2, 2010. The Commission had also suggested restructuring Antrix and a report on the matter had been submitted to ISRO subsequently.
     

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