This Article is From Feb 17, 2011

ISRO-Devas S-Band spectrum deal cancelled

New Delhi: The controversial S-Band deal between Indian Space Research Organisation's commercial wing Antrix and Devas Multimedia has been cancelled.

The decision to terminate the contract was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Law Minister Veerappa Moily.

"Antrix S-Band deal with Devas is annulled. The government can't provide S-Band spectrum for commercial activities. We have considered legal aspects of Devas deal and are ready to face them in court. Devas is not likely to succeed," said Veerappa Moily. (Watch)

The decision came a day after the Prime Minister strongly rejected any suggestions that his office continued talks with Devas on its controversial deal with Antrix for lease of S-Band spectrum after the Space Commission decided to scrap it.

Antrix Corporation, ISRO's commercial arm, had signed a contract with Devas Multimedia in January 2005 for lease of 90 per cent transponders in two satellites to be built by ISRO.

Bundled into the deal was 70 MHz of S-Band spectrum which was priced at Rs 1000 crore.
A media expose claimed that the deal could have caused loss of over Rs 2 lakh crore to the national exchequer.

"There have been no backroom talks... There has been no effort in the PMO to dilute in any way the decision taken by the Space Commission in July 2010. On that, I would like to assure you and the country," Singh said in an interaction with Editors of news channels.
However, he said that if there has been delay in scrapping the deal, this has been "only procedural".
"Though there has been some delay in processing, this was only procedural. The fact is that the contract was not operational in any practical sense," the Prime Minister said.

Earlier, objecting to a government move to annul its contract with Antrix following the S-Band spectrum controversy, Devas Multimedia has said it would take "strong" legal steps to protect its rights and interests.

Contending that it had a legally binding agreement with ISRO's commercial arm Antrix, Devas said it expected the government to fulfill all its obligations under the agreement. (Watch: We weren't told of deal annulment, says Devas CEO)