The Enforcement Directorate has begun a "preliminary inquiry" into the financial aspects of the transactions that took place in connection with the Rs1,490 crore Antrix-Devas deal which led to the lifetime ban of previous Indian Space Research Organisation chairman Madhavan Nair and three of his former colleagues from government-run positions.
The ED's Bangalore zone office has begun the probe to ascertain if any foreign exchange or anti-money laundering laws were contravened when the deal – later scrapped by the government – was inked.
The investigation has been entrusted to the Bangalore office as Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, is registered there and the people indicted by the investigation committees also reside in the Karnataka capital.
The investigation will involve the Reserve Bank of India and the Income Tax department, reports said. It will check the authenticity of the stake of a few Mauritius based arms of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, promoted by former ISRO scientists, in the controversial deal to sell S-band spectrum.
"A preliminary enquiry has been started after consultations and directions from the ED headquarters in Delhi," agency officials said, adding that the credentials of Telecom Devas (Mauritius) Ltd and Columbia Capital Devas (Mauritius) Ltd would be checked.
The probe will also look at the financial dealings of individuals involved in the deal to check if any 'benami' properties (under fictitious ownership) were purchased from illegal proceeds.