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Summary of Antrix- devas scam


Excerpts from ET article

  • Antrix Corporation was set up as the marketing arm of Isro in 1992
  • company hoped to promote commercial exploitation of space products,technical consultancy services and transfer of technologies developed by Isro
  • A major objective is to facilitate development of space-related industrial capabilities in India
  • Forge Advisors,a US-based strategic consultancy, established an Indian company called Devas Multimedia,with some former Isro scientists on board.
  • Antrix inked a memorandum of understanding with Forge for exploring opportunities in digital multimedia services
  • agreement provided leasing of 90% of the space segment capacity on two satellites for 12 years to Devas
  • Antrixs board approved the draft agreement between the two sides,and the agreement was signed
Two Satellites
  • Antrix committed to build and launch two satellites
  • These two would have helped Devas deliver a range of services such as broadband to remote areas
here's how a scam was discovered
  • there was no tendering for awarding the contract to Devas
  • the Cabinet was not informed that the two satellites were being built by Isro for Devas
  • satellites were leased to Devas at throwaway prices

Counter arguments

  • Antrix-Isro,regularly leases satellite capacity to private firms in the direct-to-home business without tendering
  • Devas was bringing in new technology that had a high risk of failure
  • estimated loss of 2 lakh crore was based on comparing what Devas paid to 3G auction prices
    1. it was a nonsensical comparison because the 3G spectrum and its uses and market are completely different from those of the S-band spectrum and the related technology that Devas would have used

OUTCOME

  • Image of Antrix,which was supposed to be the government space technology arm that would bring in private investment and cutting-edge technology and market Indian space capabilities abroad,remains very badly damaged.

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