Agreement termination notice sent to Devas: Govt

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 10, 2011 Published on March 10, 2011

With the Government deciding to scrap the controversial deal between ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix and the Indian unit of a US firm, a notice of termination of the agreement for lease of premium space segment has been served to Devas.

“Antrix has sent the agreement termination notice to Devas on February 25,” the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr V. Narayanasamy, said during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

After a memorandum of understanding signed in July 2003 between Antrix Corp and Forge Advisors of US, Antrix had entered into an agreement with Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd on January 28, 2005 for leasing part of the space segment capacity in S-band on two geostationary satellites.

The agreement provided for leasing of 90 per cent of the space segment capacity by Antrix to Devas on two satellites for 12 years. Devas was to lease transponder capacity from the two satellites at a cost of $300 million (approximately Rs 1,350 crore) spread over 12 years.

He said following complaints and keeping in mind the needs of defence, para-military forces, railways and other public utility services, the Cabinet Committee on Securities had on February 17 directed Antrix to annul the agreement.

The Antrix-Devas agreement had a ‘force majeure’ clause wherein the pact could be terminated if the space segment was required by the Government, he said.

“On receipt of complaints on implementation of the agreement in November 2009, the Department of Space set up a committee on December 8, 2009 chaired by Dr B.N. Suresh, a former member of Space Commission,” he said.

The committee in July last year recommended annulling the Antrix-Devas agreement. Subsequently on February 10 this year, the Government constituted a high-powered committee to review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the deal.

The committee will suggest “corrective measures and fix responsibility for lapses,” he said, adding that the panel would submit its reports “very shortly’’.

Published on March 10, 2011
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