Nirmala Sitharaman blames UPA government over 2005 Antrix deal

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slams the UPA government over the deal of the 2005 Antrix deal. Addressing a press conference a day after the Supreme Court of India’s ordered winding up of Devas Multimedia, Sitharaman said the government would soon appoint an arbitrator in Antrix-Devas case and fight it in every court internationally to save Indian taxpayers’ money.

The finance minister also said that this deal was done against the national security of India and now it should be the Congress party’s turn to tell how this kind of fraud was perpetrated on the people of the country. Finance Minister said the NDA government is fighting in every court so that Devas doesn’t get away with the deal fraud. She said the liquidator has been appointed and the winding up process will begin soon.

Under an agreement signed in 2005, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) commercial arm Antrix was required to build, launch and operate two satellites and leash out 90 per cent of the satellite transponder capacity to Devas Multimedia Private Limited, which planned to use it to offer hybrid satellite and terrestrial communication services in India. The deal was cancelled in 2011 on the ground that the auction of the broadband spectrum was mired in fraud and that the government needed the S-band satellite spectrum for national security and other social purposes.

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