Technology

Isro feels the heat over spectrum deal

MUMBAI: The Indian Space Research organisation (Isro) has landed into a controversy over a spectrum deal that its commercial arm Antrix struck with a private company Devas Multimedia for unbridled use of 70 MHz of scarce S-band spectrum for a 20 year-period.


With allegations stating that the loss to the exchequer was huge, the Department of Space (DoS) clarified that the deal was under review.
  
"The Department (of Space) wishes to clarify that the agreement entered into by Antrix and . Devas on 28 January 2005 is already under review by the DoS and the government will take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard public interest. A decision on the matter is likely to be taken soon," DoS said.


The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is scrutinising the deal with Devas which is owned by former Isro scientific secretary M G Chandrasekhar. Devas sold a stake to a clutch of foreign investors, including Deutsche Telecom and private equity firm Columbia Capital, following the spectrum allocation. 
 
Devas was leased the S-band spectrum for Rs 6 billion. Isro was given the contract to launch two satellites for Devas too as part of the deal.


The Opposition attacked the government over the deal. The BJP and the Left parties have demanded a probe, describing it as a scandal bigger than the 2G spectrum.

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