Devas-Antrix deal: ED seeks to declare Devas Multimedia CEO fugitive economic offender in PMLA case

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has sought permission from a special court in Bengaluru to declare the founder and CEO of the now-liquidated startup Divas Multimedia Private Limited as the fugitive economic culprit.

The Emergency Department has transmitted a request under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, to declare Ramachandran Viswanathan an economic offender before trial in the Central Agency’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case over the failed 2005 satellite deal between Devas Multimedia and the commercial arm of Isro Antrix Corp.

Declaring someone as a fugitive economic criminal will allow the CEO to seek confiscation of property belonging to the accused in India and abroad that has been identified as proceeds of economic crime.

The Special Court has yet to consider an application by the ED earlier this month to declare the CEO of Devas Multimedia an economic offender. She had ordered in April 2022 that the indictment against Viswanathan and nine others be split due to the failure of the CEO of Dewas Multimedia to respond to a court summons.

In March, the Special Court rejected a petition by the Director of Emergency for a proclamation order against Viswanathan. The CEO sought a warrant against the CEO of Devas Multimedia to compel him to appear before the Bengaluru Special Court to try the money laundering case brought against him and six others in 2018.

Viswanathan is a satellite communications entrepreneur in the United States and is the president of Omnispace LLC, a start-up in that country that assembles a constellation of satellites to power 5G from space, especially to provide connectivity to remote areas where the terrestrial mobile network does not operate. Works.

Devas Multimedia and its investors, including major German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, are engaged in a drawn-out legal battle around the world over the Government of India’s 2011 decision to scrap the 2005 satellite deal between Devas and Antrix in Isro.

Viswanathan is among 10 individuals and entities accused of money laundering offenses by a general manager in an indictment filed in July 2018. Other defendants in the case include several senior Divas officials, three company subsidiaries, and a former Antrix CEO. .

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