इंडियन आवाज़     28 Sep 2023 02:45:56      انڈین آواز

ISRO admits anomalies; to terminate deal with Devas

In a hurriedly called press conference here secretary Department of Space and Chairman Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr K Radhakrishnan also announced that department has already initiated the process to terminate the deal with Devas Multimedia and claimed there was no financial loss to the government on account of this.

Dr Krishnaswami Kasturirangan former Chairman ISRO and Member Planning Commission on Science and Technology was also present at the conference.

ISRO chief said that details about the 2005 contract under which Devas, floated by a former ISRO official, was to receive rights to 90% usage of transponders on two satellites, were not shared with the space commission or the Union Cabinet.
To query as whether the cabinet was aware of this Radhakrisnanan said : “One point that was not explicitly mentioned (to the Union Cabinet) was that GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A satellites are going to be predominantly used for this novel and commercial application that Antrix had entered into with M/s Devas,”

He said that the decision relating to the process of contract termination was taken in July 2010 and the process of consultations was going on.  “When we have to terminate a contract, it is a complex process, that is what we are going through, so that government does not incur damage or financial loss,” said the ISRO chief.

He said as of now the contract is not terminated but the review was on since 2009.

He informed that a deal between Antrix Corporation, a business arm of ISRO and Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd was signed in 2007 for the use of 70 MHz of S-band Spectrum by the latter.

“Some problems were suspected in the deal and ISRO appointed an internal review in December 2009. ISRO later took up this matter with the Space Commission and in July 2010 the Space Commission suggested termination of the contract. But the contract is not yet been terminated but the process is on for termination of the contract” ISRO chief said

he said that all these things was done without the knowledge of the Union Cabinet. The developments were strictly confined to the Department of Space which is under the control of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Dr K Radhakrishnan GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A in the question will not be given to Devas or any other party. It will be used by the government for strategic needs and societal applications. The termination of the contract is difficult and time taking as The Penalty Clause and other clauses in the contract needs scrutiny so that it may not cost the government much.

Besides procedure violations, the question of a conflict of interest was also clear. Two former ISRO officials MG Chandrashekhar and D Venugopal are on the Devas board.

Meanwhile ISRO’s defence of terminating contracts being a complex process or a zero revenue loss theory have made no impact on opposition.

“Spectrum is a national property – it’s own by the Government of India. Whenever it is leased to anybody like ISRO or any others, they are trustee for their use. They cannot alienated by transfer or lease or otherwise,” said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury also said that though it was a preliminary report, “but all indications are that the needle of suspicion pointing towards the ministry, which is directly under the Prime Minister’s charge,”

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