March 26, 2024

The wages of sin is death, says the Bible. There is no canonical clarity on the wages of sacrificing contractual integrity in the face of political opportunism and uninformed scam-mongering by a glory-hunting Comptroller and Auditor General of India and a frenzied media bent more on baying for blood than on sifting the grain from the chaff. The International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration tribunal deems it to be damages worth at least $1.3 billion, in the case of Devas Multimedia, and courts in the US and Canada concur.

The Devas deal goes back to 2005, when Devas Multimedia, a company founded in India with some former bigwigs of India’s space administration and information technology types, entered into a contract with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of India Space Research Organisation, for a 12-year lease, in return for $300 million to be paid over the same period, of space on transponders on yet-to-be-launched geostationary satellites GSAT6 and GSAT6A, along with 70 MHz of the S-Band spectrum to be used for communication between the ground and the transponders. The S-Band comprises an electromagnetic spectrum in the range to 2-4 GHz, assigned by the International Telecommunications Union for satellite communications. But spectrum can be repurposed for use as well.

Devas planned to offer high-speed mobile broadband via satellite. Now, it is unlikely that this plan was perfect by today’s standards….

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