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DoS ex-additional secretary exposes on Devas-Antrix deal

By By Rakesh Ranjan- 24 Jan 2022
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New Delhi (25.01.2022): Former Financial Advisor and Additional Secretary of the Department of Space Gopalan Balachandran, who was asked to review the report on the Antrix-Devas deal filed by one-man BN Suresh Committee, had advised the government to scrap the deal way back in December 2010.
He told a newspaper that investigations must be carried out against former top officials of the Department of Space who suppressed crucial information related to the Devas-Antrix deal which led the Cabinet in 2011 to cancel the agreement citing force majeure instead of fraud.
“After I started looking into the papers related to the agreement (between Antrix and Devas), I found that in many aspects, the actions of officials who played a role to give clearance for the Antrix-Devas deal were suspect,” he told BusinessLine in an exclusive interview.
“In my review of Suresh Committee’s Report, I had given documentary evidence that in order to conclude the agreement, financial due-diligence was not done properly. The legal opinion given was a sham and was completely wrong,” he said.
Balachandran's disclosure is considered significant in the light of the Supreme Court pinning on the fraud committed by Devas. If Balachandhran’s recommendations were acted upon, perhaps India would have won the arbitration in the international courts, too.  
Balachandran stressed that vigilance and criminal investigations need to be carried out to understand the cause of such culpability by the then top DoS officials.
“I feel vindicated to a great extent ( by the SC judgment). My struggle since 2010 and wait for 12 years has been mostly rewarded. The most important points put forward by Antrix before NCLAT in their prayer for liquidating Devas are the ones I had informed Secretary, Dept of Space, as early as in December 2010 and January 2011” he said.
Balachandran also told Businessline that "Devas will now try to create an impression abroad that it is difficult for foreign investors to do business in India but it is important for India to successfully challenge and finish off such false propaganda.  It is clear, both Antrix and CBI have found that Devas has succeeded in suppressing the information that they do not have IPR from reaching the Cabinet. Unless we state this fact, we will not be able to conclusively prove in international courts of Devas’ multiple crimes." 
(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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