Rs 3.10 cr of assets attached in Antrix-Devas deal

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 3.10 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe in the Antrix-Devas deal case.

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 3.10 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe in the Antrix-Devas deal case.

It said a provisional order for attachment, in the form of bank balance in the current account and fixed deposits available with the ICICI Bank in Malleswaram, has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The assets are in the name of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd (DMPL), the agency said in a statement on Friday.

The DMPL was incorporated in 2004 by a few former employees of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and it subsequently entered into an agreement with the Antrix Corporation Ltd, a Central government company, registered in Bengaluru.

Antrix is a 100 per cent government-owned public sector undertaking under the control of Isro and it functions as its commercial arm. It had signed a deal with Devas in January 2005 to provide it with crucial S-Band wavelength, which is primarily kept for strategic interests of the country.

The ED has filed a money-laundering case based on a CBI FIR.

The CBI case was filed against DMPL and others for illegally agreeing with ISRO/Antrix corporation Ltd by fraudulently representing certain facts and on entering the agreement, collected investments from abroad through criminal conspiracy, it said. 

The ED said the DMPL had “fraudulently” claimed that it had the ownership and intellectual property rights to use the technology for delivering multi-media services and entered into an agreement with ISRO/ACL.

“On the strength of the said agreement the accused company raised foreign investment of Rs 579 crore. The DMPL also incorporated its subsidiary company in the US in the name Devas multi-media America Inc. and out of the foreign investment an amount of Rs. 76.19 crore was transferred to it as an investment,” the ED said.

It alleged Rs 180.77 crore was also transferred to its subsidiary in the US in the guise of providing business support services and a further amount of Rs 230.11 crore was spent as a legal fee.

An investigation found that the agreement entered by the DMPL with ISRO/ACL was illegal as the DMPL did not have any technology/ownership of intellectual property rights to deliver the multi-media services, it said.

The main purpose of entering the agreement with ISRO/ACL was to raise foreign investments on the strength of the agreement with ISRO and then siphon off the investment in the guise of investment in a subsidiary company, the ED said describing the modus operandi of the alleged criminal act.

“The DMPL never did any major business in India other than providing internet services to about 20 -25 customers in Bengaluru,” it said. 

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