PM sets up panel to probe ISRO-Devas agreement (Lead)

February 10th, 2011 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

ISRO New Delhi/Bangalore, Feb 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday formed a two-member commission to probe allegations of revenue losses in the allocation of space spectrum using S-band — high value and scarce radio waves — between the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) commercial arm and a private company.”The prime minister has formed a high-level commission, which will submit its report within a month,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in New Delhi.

The two-member commission comprises Planning Commission member and former cabinet secretary B.K. Chaturvedi and Space Commission member and aerospace expert Roddam Narasimha.

Reports have alleged loss of government revenue in a contract entered into by Antrix Corporation — the commercial arm of ISRO — and Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd due to lease of space segment capacity which would use S-Band spectrum.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicated that the alleged deal between Antrix and Devas has caused the nation an estimated loss of Rs.2 lakh crore.

“The committee has been directed to submit its recommendations to the Prime Minister as Minister-in-charge of the Department of Space within one month,” India’s space agency added in a statement in Bangalore.

The press release said the committee would “review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the agreement between ANTRIX (ISRO’s commercial arm) and M/s. Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd, and to review the adequacy of procedures and approval processes followed by ANTRIX, ISRO and Department of Space, and to suggest improvements and changes.”

The government Tuesday denied that the nation suffered revenue losses in the allocation of space spectrum using S-band but admitted that the agreement between Antrix and Devas had not explicitly mentioned the end-use terms. Further, it said the agreement was being cancelled.

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