Former ISRO Chief Madhavan Nair Chargesheeted in Antrix-Devas Deal

Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair. Credit: Reuters

Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Thursday, filed a chargesheet in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal. The central investigative agency named ex-ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair and other senior officials  involved in the Antrix-Devas deal.

Antrix had earlier been slapped a fine of about Rs.4,400 crore by the International Arbitration Court for unilaterally terminating the contract with Devas. Devas was planning to use an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) owned spectrum to launch satellite-based multimedia services on hand-held devices.

The CBI has registered a case and submitted an FIR (first information report) against K. R. Sridhara Murthi, who was then the executive director of Antrix, M. G. Chandrasekhar and R. Vishwanathan of Forge Advisors, Devas Multi-media Private Limited and unnamed officials of Antrix, ISRO and the department of space in a designated court in Bengaluru.

The Antrix-Devas deal had led to the early exit of G Madhavan Nair from the chairmanship of ISRO. He was the chairman of the governing council of Antrix when the deal was finalised.

The CBI has alleged that the accused people had entered into a criminal conspiracy and favoured Devas by giving them rights for delivery of videos, multimedia and information services to mobile phones using the S-Band through GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A satellites and terrestrial systems in India.

The CBI said that Devas had submitted incorrect information claiming that it had the technology and was fully capable of delivering the S-DMB services to get the rights of delivering same in India through PS1 and PS2, following which, Devas allegedly got “wrongful gain of about more than Rs.578 crore from various investors from US, Mauritius, Singapore etc.”

The CBI claimed that Devas, with the intent to siphon off the amount from its bank accounts in India, got a subsidiary in another name incorporated in USA and a substantial part of wrongful gain was remitted to this new US company on the pretext of services, salaries, etc—a charge that has been denied by the company.

Devas has taken Antrix and the government to the International Court after its contract was cancelled by the cabinet committee on security in 2011.

Categories: Government, Space