ISRO forms panel to probe Antrix-Devas spectrum deal

New Delhi, Feb 12(ANI): India's primary space research body, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on Saturday set in motion a process to restructure Antrix Corporation, its commercial arm, against the backdrop of a controversial two-satellite deal it had struck with a private firm.

K. Radhakrishnan, the ISRO chairman, said that a special two-member committee would be set up to probe "procedural lapses" in the allocation of the scarce band.

"There is a high-power review committee set up by the government with two members, that is B. K. Chaturvedi and Professor Narasimha (Professor Roddam Narsimha) with specific terms of reference: one, to look at this entire Antrix-Devas agreements on the procedural aspects, whether there were lapses if any, and also to fix the responsibility; and the second part of it, which is a larger one, is to look at the entire procedure followed in the ISRO-DOS and this. So this committee's report is expected within a month," said Radhakrishnan.

It was reported in a section of the media that Antrix Corporation entered into an agreement with Devas Multimedia in 2005, allowing it the use of 70 MHz of the high-value S-band spectrum without inviting bids, resulting in huge revenue loss to the exchequer.

Commenting on the scam, Radhakrishnan said that he would talk about it once the probe is over.

"This is contractual matter, I will not be able to talk about this and the subjects of a contract annulment will get into the required legal framework. So don't ask me at the moment of that sort. I will not be able to share those aspects," he said.

He later revealed that the Space Commission has decided to appoint a full-time Chairman for Antrix.

"We had a managing director, full-time, in the Antrix, Sridhara Murthy (K.R. Sridhara Murthy). He superannuated in the end of September. Now you have to find a successor for this person. What we have done at the moment is to put a person as executive director to do the day-to-day activities of the Antrix Corporation," said Radhakrishnan.

The Space Department falls under the Prime Minister's Office, and the latter has denied reports that a private company was allotted a whopping 70 MHz of spectrum for barely 10 billion rupees.

Earlier, on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office had issued a statement denying the reports. (ANI)

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