Antrix deal never approved by PMO: Manmohan Singh


New Delhi: The Prime Minister intervened in the Rajya Sabha when the Opposition sought to know who in the PMO was responsible for approving the deal between Devas and Antrix

Seeking to clear the air on the controversy over allocation of S-Band spectrum, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 24 said the deal to allocate transponder frequency on two satellites to the Indian arm of a US firm never came to his office for approval.

“There is no question of Prime Minister’s Office being asked to approve the deal. It never came to that level,” Dr. Singh said.

He was intervening during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha when Opposition members sought to know who in the PMO was responsible for approving the deal between Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. (the Indian arm of Forge Advisors of US) and Antrix Corp, the commercial arm of ISRO.

Antrix, he said, is a commercial arm of ISRO and in normal course its deal with Devas does not go to the government for approval.

Only the launch of satellite “did come to the Cabinet,” he said. But the Devas-Antrix deal “was not mentioned in the Cabinet note.”

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said Antrix Corp Ltd, set up by Department of Space in 1992, had signed an agreement with Devas in January 2005 for leasing part of the space segment capacity in S-band on two geostationary satellites.

The agreement details the terms and conditions under which part of the transponder capacity of these satellites will be made available to Devas for 12 years.

This was as per the Satellite Communications Policy Framework for India approved by Cabinet in June 1997, which authorized INSAT capacity to be leased to non-governmental parties.

The norms, guidelines and procedures for implementation of this policy were approved by Cabinet in January 2000.

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