Centre turns focus on B'lore-based firm Devas

It has violated the terms of the contract, says Narayanasamy

After sending out a strong signal to the people indicted by the two high level committees that probed the $300 million controversial Antrix-Devas deal, the Centre’s focus has shifted to dealing with Devas Multimedia, a Bangalore-based firm that has dragged Antrix — Isro’s commercial arm — to an international court.

Following the Centre annulling the deal owing it to ‘national interest’ and the findings of the high level committee, Devas had, in July 2011, moved the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) seeking restoration of its contract with Antrix.

Further probe

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), answering a query on whether the steps towards initiating any further probe by a specific agency, in a bid to initiate criminal proceedings against those indicted have been chalked out, said: “We are working our way towards getting a stay on Devas’ plea at an international court as all legal options in India need to be exhausted before they move any further.”

Speaking to Deccan Herald over the phone, Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy, said: “As you know, we’ve already approached the Supreme Court regarding this matter.

The next hearing is scheduled on February 10 and we are working on it.”
Devas, he said, has violated the terms of the contract with Antrix, which very clearly says that in case of any dispute, the matter must be taken up within the country first.

It is noteworthy that one of the reports on the deal has raised objections about the international court having accepted Devas an as international client of Antrix even as the company is registered in Bangalore. “We want a stay on the proceedings. They cannot approach the international court and we want to convey the same to the Supreme Court,” Narayanasamy said.

Silence

Repeated attempts to contact Devas officials failed with its Chief Executive Officer Ramachandra in the United States. One of the spokespersons said: “...We would like to stay away from commenting on the matter as it is in the court.”

Kiran Karnik, former independent director on the Devas Board, who had, in an open letter to the prime minister supported the deal still stuck to his stand and said: “I have said whatever I had to last year. There is nothing more I want to say.”

Former Isro chairman Madhavan G Nair, who has vehemently contested the contents of the Prithyush Sinha report into the deal, was in Delhi on Monday, but said that he was there for a private visit and that he would not meet any official.

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