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Devas lobbies with US lawmakers for India deal

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Devas Multimedia, whose satellite communications contract with the Indian government-owned was scrapped after a controversy, has been lobbying here to push forward its case before the US President and other lawmakers and has paid $140,000 so far for the same.

As per the disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, lobbyist firm Hogan Lovells US LLP began lobbying on behalf of Bangalore-based before the American lawmakers in June 2011.

Hogan Lovells said in its latest quarterly disclosure report that it was paid $60,000 during the fourth quarter of 2011 (October-December period) for lobbying on behalf of Devas.

Prior to this, Hogan Lovells had earned $60,000 in the third quarter and another $20,000 in the second quarter of 2011 as lobbying-related income from Devas, its disclosure filings with the US Senate showed.

Hogan Lovells has been registered as a lobbyist of Devas Multimedia in the US since June 6, 2011.

Queries regarding to the disclosure sent to Devas remained unanswered.

As per the disclosure reports, Devas has been identified as a 'satellite communications and technology company'.

Without naming Antrix, the lobbyist firm has said that the lobbying issues for its client Devas Multimedia include "foreign direct investment and government procurement issues relating to a satellite communications contract in India."

Hogan Lovells has further said that it was lobbying for Devas' case before the US Senate, the Department of State and the Executive Office of the President.

While the specific reasons for lobbying in the US could not be ascertained, Devas Multimedia on its website lists entities like German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom AG, private equity firm Columbia Capital LLC and Telecom Ventures as its shareholders.

The company describes itself as "an Indian company headquartered in Bangalore" and says it was founded in 2004 by a team of successful satellite entrepreneurs and executives.

The company says its integrated satellite system ensures seamless connectivity throughout India and it aims to "deliver advanced Internet-based multimedia and interactive data services to hand-held mobile terminals via a unique IP-based platform."

A controversy had erupted years after the signing of the deal in January 2005, under which Antrix was accused of giving Devas an unrestricted access to the high-frequency S-based spectrum, known to be highly valuable for mobile broadband services, from two satellites at very low valuation.

The deal was annulled by the government in February 2011 and two separate committees were set up to probe any irregularities in the matter.

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