New Delhi (JPN/Bureau): Caught in the S-band scam soup, government owned Antrix Corporation may have come into existence to take care of the commercial aspects of satellites but has rather become a source of generating interest income for the Department of Space (DoS).

Marketing and management of satellite services seems to have taken a back seat with half of its revenues coming in through interest earnings. As far as marketing goes, Antrix has only given shocks like scams in S-band with companies Devas, Tata Sky and BSNL.

Cash-rich DoS has kept nearly Rs 800 crores in Fixed Deposits of various banks through Antrix. Account books of Antrix suggest that budget allocated to DoS is not in order.

The use of a public Company to earn interest has been happening for several years right under the nose of Prime Minister’s Office. Antrix has not been able to utilize its cash as Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports have pointed out that money worth Rs one to three hundred and eighty crore lies unutilized.

Sources reveal that DoS likes only interest generating function of Antrix and that is why big transponder lease deals are not given to Antrix with DoS only handling those. For example, the contract allowing Doordarshan commercial use of 21 INSAT transponders was signed by DoS, not Antrix. Even the right of leasing out services for DTH companies is looked after by DoS.

Profits accrued by Antrix have scaled up to Rs 106 cr from Rs 19 cr in the last nine years but interest income is the main trigger behind it. The company is so cash rich that it has formed a committee to invest the money (even the cap of Rs 500 cr has been removed). This committee can keep up to Rs 75 cr in one bank. A CAG report has revealed that Antrix holds Rs 828 crores in various public sector banks.