Info-tech

Devas yet to file case against Antrix over deal annulment

Madhumathi D. S. Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018

DevasMultimedia

Upfront payment for satellite launch still with ISRO arm





Three months after the Centre annulled the controversial Devas Multimedia-Antrix Corporation satellite contract, the Bangalore-based company is yet to initiate any legal process.

“Devas hasn't filed a case so far, nor has it collected the cheque from Antrix,” an informed person told Business Line.

A call and a message sent to a top Devas official to confirm the information was not answered immediately.

Soon after the deal of 2005 with ISRO's commercial arm Antrix was called off in mid-February, Devas had defended the contract and said it would pursue it legally.

Devas had paid Antrix around Rs 56 crore upfront towards the cost of the GSat-6 satellite in the coveted S-band, and its launch. The deal was annulled after a preliminary estimate of the Comptroller and Auditor General faulted many of its fiscal and procedural aspects and put the potential loss from the deal at over Rs 2 lakh crore. [ Business Line,February 7, 2011.]

On Saturday, ISRO's Chairman and current head of Antrix, Dr K. Radhakrishnan, told a news conference called to announce a major satellite launch coming up next week that post-annulment, ISRO was entitled to return the upfront payment.

Asked about the compensation that Devas would be claiming, he said, “It will go through the legal process. Communications are going on. I will not be able to say anything on it now.”

Antrix would have a full-time Chairman and Managing Director in about a month, he said.

To a query, he said the panel of Mr B. K. Chaturvedi and Dr Roddam Narasimha, named by the Prime Minister's Office and which reviewed the entire contract in February-March, was tasked to fix the responsibility for the botched contract. Their report is yet to be made public.

As for GSat-6, the first of the two satellites involved in the contract, it would be used for communications and launched on the next available GSLV after ISRO had met its other committed launch demands.

As the GSLV programme had been set back after two failures in 2010, a time cannot be given now, he said.

REVAMPING ANTRIX

Dr Radhakrishnan had suggested revamping Antrix under a new head other than ISRO Chairman after the S-band spectrum allocation under the Antrix-Devas contract first broke out in May 2010 [ Business Line May 31, 2010].

Now, he said, “The selection of a full-time CMD for Antrix [will be made] in one month. The process is going on.”

Antrix would remain a part of ISRO/DoS, with an enhanced scope. It is at present a small PSU with a turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore.

PANELS' REPORTS

On May 24, the Space Commission will review the two reports submitted by the Kasturirangan and Madhavan Nair committees.

The first reviewed the GSLV rocket and the INSAT capacity situation at ISRO; the Nair report analysed the GSLV failure of December 25.

Dr Radhakrishnan said the priority was to stabilise the fumbling GSLV programme in the coming 18 months.



Published on May 14, 2011

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