Termination notice of agreement sent to Devas:Govt

New Delhi: With the government deciding to scrap the controversial deal between ISRO`s commercial arm Antrix and the Indian unit of a US firm, a notice of termination of the agreement for lease of premium space segment has been served to Devas.

"Antrix has sent the agreement termination notice to Devas on February 25," Minister of State in Prime Minister`s Office V Narayanasamy said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

After a memorandum of understanding signed in July 2003 between Antrix Corp and Forge Advisors of USA, Antrix had entered into an agreement with Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd on January 28, 2005 for leasing part of the space segment capacity in S-band on two geostationary satellites.

The agreement provided for leasing of 90 per cent of the space segment capacity by Antrix to Devas on two satellites for 12 year. Devas was to lease transponder capacity from the two satellites at a cost of USD 300 million (approximately Rs 1350 crore) spread over 12 years.

He said following complaints and keeping in mind the needs of defence, para-military forces, railways and other public utility services, the Cabinet Committee on Securities had on February 17 directed Antrix to annul the agreement.

The Antrix-Devas agreement had a `force majeure` clause wherein the pact could be terminated if the space segment was required by the government, he said.

"On receipt of complaints on implementation of the agreement in November 2009, the Department of Space set up a committee on December 8, 2009 chaired by Dr B N Suresh, a former member of Space Commission," he said.

The committee in July last year recommended annulling the Antrix-Devas agreement.

Subsequently on February 10 this year, the government constituted a high powered committee to review technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the deal.

The committee will suggest "corrective measures and fix responsibility for lapses," he said, adding the panel would submit its reports "very shortly."