New Delhi: 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 25 February,” minister of state in Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha or the Upper House.
After a memorandum of understanding signed in July 2003 between Antrix Corp and Forge Advisors of the US, Antrix had entered into an agreement with Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd on 28 January 2005 for leasing part of the space segment capacity in S-band on two geostationary satellites.
The agreement provided for leasing of 90% of the space segment capacity by Antrix to Devas on two satellites for 12 year. Devas was to lease transponder capacity from the two satellites at a cost of Rs 1350 crore ($300 million) 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 17 February 2011 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 8 December, 2009 chaired by Dr B N Suresh, a former member of Space Commission,” he said.
The committee in July 2010 recommended annulling the Antrix-Devas agreement.
Subsequently on 10 February 2011, the government constituted a high-powered committee to review technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the deal.
The committee will suggest “corrective measures and fix responsibility for lapses,” he said, adding the panel would submit its reports “very shortly.”