ED attaches Rs 80 crore of Devas in Antrix deal

Bengaluru, Feb 28 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached nearly Rs 80 crore of Devas Multimedia Ltd. in connection with its controversial deal with Indian space agency ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd.

“We have attached Rs 79,76,00,041 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in case of Devas Multimedia Ltd.,” the economic intelligence agency of the Union Revenue Department said in a statement here.

The attachment of the satellite services provider company’s money came over a month after ED officials searched Devas office here on January 23 and recorded the statements of its Director (Finance) Ranganathan Mohan, founder-Director Desaraju Venugopal and former Director D. Nataraj.

“Two other Directors, the brains behind the crime, Ramachandran Viswanathan and M. Chandrasekhar, are in the USA at present,” the statement said.

On February 1, a Delhi court fixed March 30 to consider a chargesheet in the Devas-Antrix deal case after the Central Bureau of Investigation sought an adjournment of hearing since the agency was still awaiting government sanction to try accused officials.

The case has been filed against former Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, former Additional Secretary in the Department of Space Veena S. Rao, and then ISRO Director A. Bhaskar Narayana Rao and others.

The CBI filed the chargesheet on August 11 last year against them for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer in the Devas-Antrix deal.