Deal On Congress Watch Was “Fraud On India,” Says Nirmala Sitharaman: 10 Points

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“Fraud was evident in the Antrix-Devas deal,” says Nirmala Sitharaman (file)

New Delhi:
The Supreme Court’s order in the 2005 Antrix-Devas deal is “evidence of abuse of power by Congress”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the closure of Bangalore-based startup Devas Multimedia.

The top 10 developments in this story are as follows:

  1. The lawsuit involves a satellite deal between Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), in 2005 and Devas Multimedia, a startup formed in December 2004.

  2. Under the agreement, Antrix agreed to build, launch and operate two satellites and to lease 90% of the satellite transponder capacity to Devas, which plans to use it to provide hybrid satellite and terrestrial communications services in the country.

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  3. The deal includes 70 MHz of S-band spectrum worth ₹ 1,000 crore. This spectrum is restricted to the use of security forces and government-run telecom companies.

  4. When the Congress-led government scrapped the deal in 2011, amid accusations, Debas challenged the decision and received a reward of Rs 15,000 crore. The government will oppose the international award given to Devas following the Supreme Court order, Ms Sitharaman said.

  5. The Supreme Court, while ordering Devas to end, said, “This is a case of massive fraud which cannot be brushed under the carpet.”

  6. “It was a fraud for Congress, for Congress, for Congress. The fraud in the Antrix-Devas agreement was clear and the Supreme Court order was evidence of abuse of power by Congress,” the finance minister said in the ruling. .

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  7. “That’s what the UPA’s greed has done. The government is fighting in every court to prevent fraud. I went to pay for the scandalous Antrix-Devas deal.”

  8. He alleges that when the agreement was terminated in 2011 and arbitration began, Antrix was asked to hire an arbitrator to protect the government, but that never happened.

  9. In 2016, former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and other officials were accused by the CBI of giving Devas a profit of Rs 578 crore.

  10. Antrix went to the National Company Law Tribunal, or NCLAT, to say that in 2005, the company’s top officials, including the then chairman, used illegal means to sign an agreement with Dev. The NCLAT, and the Bangalore bench of the National Company Law Tribunal, or NCLT, then ordered Devas to close the shop in May 2021. Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld that order.

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