ED makes progress in probe into $300m Antrix-Devas deal

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the intricacies of the deal between the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) commercial arm, Antrix, and private firm Devas that saw four senior scientists blacklisted for any kind of re-employment in any of the government institutions, has completed initial verification.

The Centre last year initiated a detailed investigation by the ED into the controversial $300 million deal, keeping its option of initiating criminal proceedings open.

In 2005, Isro’s Antrix agreed to build two satellites and provide scarce S-band spectrum at throwaway prices for Devas, which planned to offer commercial broadband services. The deal meant, according to some estimates, that the government would suffer colossal losses.  

Speaking to Deccan Herald, a source said: “There has been progress in the investigation and we are moving ahead with it. Given the nature of the investigation, it would be inappropriate to reveal at what stage we are.”

The agency’s Bangalore branch, which is investigating, given that Devas is registered in Bangalore and the four indicted scientists reside here, has already submitted a report to its Delhi office.

The agency, sources confirmed, has looked into the transactions, parties involved and is now in the process of ascertaining if any other individuals were involved in the transactions.

The scope of the probe will also include verifying the credentials of Telecom Devas (Mauritius) Limited and Columbia Capital Devas (Mauritius) Limited and whether undue favours were extended to Devas, costing the exchequer.

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