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Parliamentary panel to examine controversial Antrix deal news
24 March 2011

The controversial deal between Antrix Corporation, the commercial unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and a Bangalore-based private firm, will now be examined by parliament's committee on estimates.

The government last month scrapped the deal following media reports of the likelihood of another major, multi-billion-dollar scam involving the allocation of 70 MHz of scarce S-band wavelength to the private firm for its digital multimedia services.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh also ordered a review of the deal by a committee that included B K Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission, and Prof R. Narsimhan, an aerospace scientist.

Antrix Corporation had in January 2005 signed a contract with Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for the lease of 90 per cent of transponders on two of ISRO's satellites, the GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A, to be launched later this year. Devas was to pay Antrix $300 million over a 12-year period.

The Space Commission had last year directed the government to ask Antrix to annul the contract, as there would be a huge increase in demand for space-based spectrum. It was felt that Devas Multimedia was getting the spectrum at a very cheap rate.

Worried over the flak it was getting on the 2G telecommunications auction scam, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government hurriedly cancelled the contract that Antrix had signed.

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Parliamentary panel to examine controversial Antrix deal