India Loses Anrtix-Devas Arbitration Case – Indian Govt to Pay $1 Billion Fine


Here is a big bad news coming for India. India has lost the Antrix-Devas Arbitration case in the International court. Now India have to pay $1 Billion fine. Antrix-Devas case was between ISRO and Bangalore based Devas Multimedia relating to Spectrum and Satellites.

Devas Multimedia Had Pulled ISRO into International negotiation after their deal for 70 MHz Spectrum in S Frequency band and leased space on 2 satellites was terminated due to irregularities.

ISRO’s Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia had signed the deal in 2005 for $300 million. Antrix Devas deal was signed for 70 megahertz spectrum in S band, which is said to be rare and used only for national and strategic purposes. The airwave allocation to Devas was to be made from the 150 MHz of spectrum with ISRO.

Antrix Devas Arbitration deal also had 12-year lease of 90 per cent transponder space on 2 satellites. Two satellites- G-SAT6 and G-SAT6A that were to be launched.

The deal would have given Devas first-mover advantage in the satellite-telephony market. Satellite-based mobile services do not require cell sites or towers. This gives it better coverage then terrestrial services.

Antrix Devas Arbitration Case
Antrix Devas Arbitration Case

Satellite calls are expensive and it is used only for military and strategic purpose. So Devas wanted to cut down the cost by making satellite calls available widely.

In 2010, ISRO appointed a committee to audit the deal and it was reported that its audit had thrown up irregularities in terms of financial mismanagement, conflict of interest, non-compliance of rules and favouritism.

Then Government terminated the agreement on 17 February 2011 after the issue was considered at a meeting of space commission. Devas Multimedia take legal actions to seek damages for the cancellation of deal. In 2015, Antrix was fined to the tune of Rs 4,400 crore by International Arbitration Court for individually terminating its contract with Devas.

Former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair was questioned by the CBI in May this year in relation to the case. The Antrix-Devas deal saw an early exit of Nair as ISRO chairman since he was the head of Antrix governing council when the deal was finalized in January 2005.

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