Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday attacked the Congress-led UPA government. Sitharaman alleged that Congress cheated Dewas Multimedia by giving S-band spectrum to be used for national security purposes, which was a very wrong deal. He said the government is now fighting in every court to save taxpayers’ money, otherwise the amount would have gone into the payment of the arbitration award, which Dewas won by quashing the 2005 deal. He said that the Supreme Court on January 17 Devas Multimedia of liquidation on the ground that it was carried out with fraudulent intent.
His remarks come at a time when Dewas shareholders have stepped up efforts to confiscate Indian assets abroad to recover $1.29 billion. Dewas was ordered by international arbitration tribunals to compensate this amount. Dewas has been ordered by a French court to confiscate Indian assets in Paris and the company is also seeking confiscation of Air India funds in Canada.
Sitharaman said on the deal between Antrix and Dewas in 2005 that it was a fraud with the Indian public, with the country. He said the S-band spectrum is used only for defense purposes, and was given away for a small amount of money. The Finance Minister said that Dewas promised to fulfill things on which he was not even entitled. Dewas Multimedia signed an agreement in 2005 with Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), under which Under this, multimedia services were to be provided to mobile users using S-band satellite spectrum.
The deal was canceled in 2011 on the grounds that the broadband spectrum auction was fraudulent and that the government needed S-band satellite spectrum for national security and other social purposes. Initiated arbitration proceedings against him.
Apart from this, two other arbitration proceedings were also initiated by the investors of Dewas. India lost in all three cases and was asked to pay a total of $1.29 billion to make up for the loss. Sitharaman said that her government is fighting in all courts to save taxpayers’ money.