The United States District Court of Eastern Virginia granted Devas Multimedia the right to seize liquid assets worth $87,457.47 from Antrix Corp Ltd. The US Court ordered Intelsat to deliver a cheque worth that amount to Devas Multimedia in its June 29 order. Intelsat owed this amount to the government-owned space company Antrix; however, it will be making the debt payment to Devas as part of the ongoing litigation between Devas Multimedia and Antrix Corp, on the alleged wrongful termination of Devas’ satellite contract.
Matthew D McGill, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Lead Counsel to Devas Shareholders, noted: “The seizure of Antrix assets sends a clear message: Despite the government’s thuggish tactics, bogus fraud claims, sham court proceedings, abuse of Interpol process and transnational repression against Viswanathan, the shareholders of Devas will not waver in their pursuit to collect what they are rightfully owed from the Indian government.”
Devas Multimedia was embroiled in a major controversy in India, where the government terminated its contract with Antrix (ISRO’s commercial arm). In the contract, Antrix aimed to provide Devas with exclusive rights over 70 MHz of the scarce S-Band space segment, for which Devas would pay Antrix $300 million over 12 years. The Union government dissolved the Devas-Antrix deal in 2011. In 2021, the National Company Law Tribunal liquidated Devas on grounds that it was fraudulently incorporated. This order was later upheld by the Supreme Court in January. Allegations of collusion between Devas executives and Antrix officials also emerged in the NCLT court arguments.
Noting wrongful termination of its contract, Devas is suing both the Indian government as well as Antrix Corp to claim damages.
Devas CEO Viswanathan was among the eight people accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption in a CBI charge sheet filed in August 2016. BusinessLine had reported previously that the Indian government is also seeking Interpol to issue a Red Notice against Viswanathan to mark him as an international economic fugitive.