The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, has moved a court in the US to counter attempts by start-up firm Devas Multimedia to confirm a $563-million compensation awarded to it by an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration tribunal over cancellation of a satellite agreement by India in 2011.
This comes even as the CBI and the ED are pursuing cases against Devas and former ISRO officials in India over alleged irregularities in the 2005 Antrix-Devas satellite manufacture and launch deal.
Antrix Corporation filed a motion in a district court in the western district of Washington November 19 to oppose a petition filed by Devas Multimedia to enforce a September 14, 2015 ICC tribunal order for payment of the compensation. The start-up, in its plea, had accused the Indian government of using retaliatory tactics against it for pursuing the compensation claim.
In its plea, Antrix stated that attempts by Devas to confirm the tribunal’s order must be rejected since the dispute between Antrix and Devas has no connection to the US, and “Antrix has no offices, employees, bank accounts or agents in the United States’’.
Antrix contended that the three-member arbitration tribunal did not include an Antrix representative, as per the arbitration agreement between the firms.
It said the order was based on the premise that then ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan “should have used his influence as a government official’’ to prevent the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) from cancelling the deal.
The order, it argued, “violates India’s sovereign right to manage and allocate an important resource, S-Band spectrum, and to develop and implement national security and military priorities… (It) is open invitation for corruption, given the tribunal’s holding that it was not only appropriate but mandatory that a government official sitting on board of a corporation use his government connections to ensure that the corporation’s commercial obligations are met, regardless of any competing government interests.”
Devas in its plea filed in September stated, “India has used its investigatory and prosecutorial processes against Devas and its officers, directors, employees, and investors. Devas believes that these measures are retaliatory.”
Devas argued that the ICC compensation award was confirmed by courts in France and the UK.