New Delhi: India has lost the arbitration case between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Devas in the international tribunal and may face up to $1 billion in damages.
ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix had cancelled a deal involving use of two satellites and a spectrum after which Devas Multimedia filed the case against the former.
According to the deal, signed when G Madhavan Nair was at the helm of affairs in the Department of Space, Antrix was to provide 70 MHz of the scarce S-Band space segment to Devas for its digital multimedia services.
This was to be done by leasing 90% of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to pay Antrix a total of $300 million over 12 years.
After reports about the possible revenue loss, the then Manmohan Singh-led government had in 2011 said the project was already under review and action has been initiated for termination of the contract.
The government annuled the deal on February 17, 2011. The Chaturvedi Committee, authorised by the Centre in 2011 and which also included aerospace scientist Roddam Narsimha, submitted its report to the Prime Minister on March 12, 2011.
In 2015, Antrix was slapped a fine of about Rs 4,400 crore ($672 million) by International Arbitration Court for unilaterally terminating the contract with Devas.
Devas has taken Antrix and the Government to International Court after its contract was cancelled by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2011.
January 28, 2005: Antrix and Devas sign the deal.
October 2009: Space Commission approves G-SAT6A. K Radhakrishnan takes over as ISRO chairman.
December 8, 2009: ISRO constitutes BN Suresh committee to review the agreement between Antrix and Devas.
June 6, 2010: Suresh committee submits report.
July 2, 2010: Space Commission recommends termination of the deal.
February and May, 2011: Manmohan Singh government sets up BK Chaturvedi and Pratyush Sinha committees to look into the deal after reports of possible revenue loss appeared.
September 2, 2011: Chaturvedi committee submits report.
January 13, 2012: Madhavan Nair, three others barred from government jobs.
February 23, 2012: Delhi HC tells government not to take ‘coercive steps’ against Devas.
June 2013: Arbitration begins; Devas claims $1.6 billion in damages.
September 29, 2015: Arbitration panel asks ISRO to pay Devas Rs 4,400 crore.