Devas: Never knew about Antrix deal review | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Devas: Never knew about Antrix deal review

delhi Updated: Feb 10, 2011 22:32 IST
HT Correspondent

Bangalore-based multimedia firm Devas was never told till Tuesday that its contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro) commercial arm for transponders was under review, the company's CEO said in a statement on Thursday.

Top Isro officials confirmed Devas claim on Thursday, saying the firm, the space agency, and Antrix conducted joint reviews of the project till January 2011, even though Isro officials have claimed they started the process of annulling the contract in December 2009.

The contract involves leasing transponders for the use of spectrum for satellite broadcast - like used by Direct-to-Home (DTH) firms to transmit television programmes.

"Devas has never been informed … at any time prior to February 8, 2011 that the Agreement was under review since December 8, 2009 and even to date we have received no official notices," the statement by Devas CEO Ram Vishwanathan said.

"On the contrary Devas was provided written confirmation that all required approvals had been obtained from the highest levels for giving effect to the Agreement and repeatedly assured that the delays in delivery of the satellite capacity were only on account of technical issues," the statement said.

Devas officials said the contract with Antrix for transponders on two satellites for commercial beaming of multimedia content was in line with India's satellite spectrum policy, and could not be compared with allocation of ground spectrum.

Opposition parties have in recent days compared the controversy surrounding the Isro agreement - allowing Devas to use precious S-band spectrum - to the 2G spectrum scam that claimed former telecom minister A Raja's Cabinet post and sent him to jail.

Devas officials said their contract was not the first involving commercial leasing of transponders and Isro satellite transponders are routinely leased to DTH firms like TataSky.

But officials say two key differences from earlier commercial deals involving the commercial lease of transponders.

DTH firms and others who have leased transponders on Isro satellites so far have utilised either the Ku-band (10.95 GHz - 14.5GHz) or C-band (4GHz - 8GHz) with much smaller wavelength than the S-band offered to Devas.