The ISRO has announced that it 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.
However, ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan admitted that details about the 2005 contract under which Devas, floated by a former ISRO official, was to receive rights to 90 percent usage of transponders on two satellites, were not shared with the Space Commission or the Union Cabinet.
“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 in New Delhi on Tuesday.
In the wake of media reports that the deal between Devas and Antrix, commercial arm of ISRO, could cause a loss of over Rs two lakh crore, the ISRO chief held a press conference to clarify that neither spectrum nor transponders or satellites were given to Devas or Antrix so far.
“The question of revenue loss incurred does not arise,” said Radhakrishnan, who was accompanied by former ISRO chief and Member, Planning Commission K Kasturirangan.
He said the process of review of the contract was initiated in 8th December 2009 and soon “we are expecting it to complete it.”
“In December 2009, I instituted a committee with a former member of Space Commission for a comprehensive review of all matters,” he said explaining the genesis of the process of review.
To a question whether the Prime Minister was aware of the deal, he said the contract is finalised by the Antrix Board and he had taken up the matter to the Space Commission.
“After the decision, I broached the matter with the Prime Minister, who is our Minister incharge and that is how the PMO conveyed a press note on the issue today,” he said.
At this point Kasturirangan interjected to point out that the review process was proof of the robustness of the decision making system.
Radhakrishnan said no time was wasted and there was no dilly-dallying.
“We have come to taking a decision but the review process is very complex and that is what we are going through because we have to ensure that the government does not incur loss or suffer damage”.
Explaining the review process, Radhakrishnan said the contract was reviewed from all angles and it was felt that the Space Commission. The Law Ministry was also being consulted on the termination process.
To a question whether ISRO officials were aware of the fact Devas was to get a predominant share of transponders on GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A, he said it was an internal matter and necessary action will be taken.
He said some of the members of the Antrix Board may have been aware of the Devas connection.
Asked why there was no competitive bidding for the deal, Radhakrishnan said this was a case of new service in 2003 and there was nobody there having such technology.
Kasturirangan said the new technology was developed by Devas as part of an international consortium which comprised the best among peers.
“As of now, we have the contract. It has not been terminated. The process to terminate is on. The decision to terminated was taken in July 2010. We are in the process of doing it,” Radhakrishnan said.
The decision to terminate the contract was taken as the spectrum was required for national strategic purpose. It has been done in the interest of the government and the public, he said.