HomeBusinessFM: Govt will target assets owned by Devas promoters - Times of...

FM: Govt will target assets owned by Devas promoters – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A day after the SC verdict, FM Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday attacked Congress for “committing a fraud on the country” in the Devas deal with Antrix, and said it would move aggressively and target assets owned by promoters of the company, both in India and abroad.
It indicated that the ruling by the SC, which established fraud by Devas and gave a go-ahead for liquidation of Devas Multimedia, will be used to defend claims overseas. Simultaneously, the ministry of corporate affairs while going for liquidation of the company will also use a rarely-used provision of the Companies Act to recover dues from Devas promoters.
“It was a fraud of Congress, by Congress and for Congress… It’s Congress’s turn to explain. It’s a master game player,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding that the Devas was given rights for unlimited rights of 70 MHz of the scarce S-band of spectrum even when the cabinet had not approved the plan, something that was noted by ministers in the Manmohan Singh government, which hastily called off the deal after the disclosure of details. She also accused the lead UPA player of being “master of corruption” ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states, including UP and Punjab.
Along with corruption charges related to allocation of 2G spectrum, coal blocks, “space spectrum scam” were successfully highlighted by BJP which emphasised that the Department of Space, which oversaw Isro, was under the PMO. “This kind of selling of primary endowments like wavelengths, satellites or spectrum bands, giving it away to private parties and making money from private parties and making a deal out if it marks the feature of the Congress government,” Sitharaman said. Sources said even before the satellites were approved by the cabinet, 90% of the rights were given away to a private company, which promised to pay $11 million annually to Isro but “not even a paisa” was paid till the deal was annulled by UPA itself. Officials said the agreement was “ab initio” void as it had been signed by a clerk employed with Devas’s chartered accountant. Besides, the company was handed over rights to use S-band, which is of strategic importance, for a “pittance”, Sitharaman said.
Quoting the SC order, the FM said that Devas had “siphoned off” large part of the money out of the country, while it made claims in various courts. Apart from payments of over $200 million under bilateral investment treaties, apart from damages of $1 billion. She said Antrix did not even appoint an arbitrator, despite a request from the ICC, and reminders from the government, leaving it to the Modi government to defend taxpayers’ money.
“The Modi govt fighting in every court to ensure the fraud doesn’t get away,” she said, adding that she would be holding inter-ministerial discussions to decide the future course of action to defend the claims made by the company.
Government officials, however, said that courts in other countries will take on board the SC order.
Last week, Devas disclosed that a Paris court granted in September 2021 its plea claiming rights over a Paris apartment that houses India’s deputy chief of mission.

Stay Connected
Must Read
You might also like


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here