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FM Nirmala Sitharaman Lauds Supreme Court For Antrix-Devas Verdict, Criticises UPA Government For Deal

Nirmala Sitharaman Press Conference : FM Sitharaman said that the deal was 'a fraud against the people of India'. Supreme Court, on Monday, upheld NCLAT's decision to wind up Devas Multimedia.

Updated: January 18, 2022 6:23 PM IST

By Raghav Aggarwal

FM Sitharaman
FM Press Conference: FM Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman Conference : Addressing the media on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman strongly criticised the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government for signing the Antrix-Devas Deal in 2005. She called the deal ‘a fraud against the people of India’. The Supreme Court, on Monday, upheld NCLT’s and NCLAT’s decision to liquidate Devas Multimedia. Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh was also present at the conference.

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FM Sitharaman said that the court’s decision was comprehensive and she wanted to draw everybody’s attention to the Antrix-Devas issue. “It took 6 years for the UPA government to cancel the order in 2011”, she said.

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Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia signed a deal wherein Antrix agreed to ‘build, launch and operate’ two satellites and lease out 90 per cent of the transponder capacity to Devas Multimedia. According to reports by various media sources, the deal could have caused a loss of Rs 2 lakh crore to the Government of India. The deal was cancelled in February 2011.

‘Blatant Selling Of Resources’

After the cancellation of the deal, Devas went on to pursue international arbitration. On this Sitharaman said, “Government of India never appointed an arbitrator. They were reminded to appoint an arbitrator within 21 days, but they did not appoint.” She further said that the deal was ‘blatant selling of the resources of the people of India’.

In September 2021, NCLAT upheld NCLT’s decision to wind up Devas Multimedia. But soon, in November and December 2021, a Canadian court ordered the seizure of assets of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Air India (AI) with the IATA, for the Indian government’s breach of the bilateral treaty. The case was filed by Devas Multimedia.

Lauded Supreme Court’s Decision

On January 17, 2022, the Supreme Court of India upheld NCLT and NCLAT’s decision to wind up Devas calling the deal ‘infected with poison of fraud’, according to a report by Times of India.

FM Sitharaman thanked the Supreme Court for the decision. “I am very grateful that Supreme court brought the order in a comprehensive manner”, she continued, ” Now, we will take this order and defend GOI’s position and make sure the justice is done against this fraud which was perpetrated.”

She also added that the liquidator has been appointed by the government and the liquidation process will start soon.

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Published Date: January 18, 2022 5:32 PM IST

Updated Date: January 18, 2022 6:23 PM IST