The Antrix/Devas legal actions will just not go away. The Indian government is now being sued by Deutsche Telekom (DT) for $135 million ($101 million plus interest) for its part in the ISRO/Antrix/Devas S-band litigation.
In May 2020 an internationally recognised Permanent Court of Arbitration in Geneva awarded DT a substantial compensation award for its 19.62 per cent ownership of Devas Multimedia and in respect of S-band spectrum on two satellites.
A US court issued a summons on the Republic of India on April 20th based on the ruling by the Geneva Arbitration Court.
“India has refused to pay the amounts due under the final award and interest has continued to accrue on the amounts awarded to petitioner… such that the total amount owed by India as of the date of the filing of this petition is US$135,829,857, on which interest continues to accrue ‘until paid in full’ as required by the final award,” said DT in its filing with the US court.
The overall litigation goes back to 2005 when India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its commercial arm Antrix, signed an agreement with Devas Multimedia to lease 70 MHz of S-band spectrum on two ISRO satellites. The intention was for Devas to supply broadband connectivity using the frequencies.
Devas Multimedia was awarded $1.3 billion by an International Chamber of Commerce tribunal in 2017. It has yet to collect a penny despite having its claim further endorsed by various Courts including the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law tribunal in October 2020.
DT, in its petition in the US district of Columbia court that the Indian government had violated a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and India signed on July 10th 1995 for Promotion and Protection of Investments with the cancellation of the Devas-Antrix deal in February 2011.
Back in 2011 India’s former Minister of Communications and other high-ranking officials were arrested in connection with the ISRO/Anrtix deal and in 2016 further allegations were made by India’s police against the former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair and others.