What is the story of Antrix-Devas deal?

what was the deal?

In 2005, Antrix, a commercial and marketing arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), signed a satellite deal with Devas Multimedia. As per the contract, Antrix was to build and operate two satellites and using the transponder capacity of those two satellites, Dewas was to provide multimedia services to mobile customers in India.

what went wrong?

In 2011 the Manmohan Singh government terminated the contract after it was alleged that the deal involved a “quid pro quo” between Antrix executives and Dewas.

Angered by the termination of the contract, the foreign investors of Dewas started a protracted battle which was fought at various forums. The company approached the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and in 2015, an arbitral tribunal found that the termination of the contract was wrong. The tribunal directed Antrix to pay $562.2 million to Devas, including interest.

But India stood its ground. It said the deal was canceled in view of the growing demand for S-band satellite spectrum for national security purposes. In addition to the ICC, Dewas initiated claims against India under “bilateral investment treaties”, where the DT Tribunal and the India-Mauritius BIT Tribunal both ruled in favor of the Dewas investors and ordered them to pay fines.


Last year, Antrix moved the National Company Law Tribunal, seeking the closure of Dewas on the grounds that the company was set up on “fraudulent purposes”. The NCLT ruled in favor of Antrix and ordered the liquidation of Dewas. The decision was challenged in the NCLAT, which upheld the NCLT order. After this the fight went to the Supreme Court. Earlier this year, the apex court upheld the NCLAT’s decision, which had ordered the liquidation of Dewas.

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Antrix also challenged the ICC’s decision in the Delhi High Court. Setting aside the Tribunal’s order recently, the Delhi High Court held that the Tribunal’s contention is self-contradictory and that the award “is prone to patent illegalities and fraud and is contrary to the public policy of India.”