BANGALORE: Stating that the report on the Antrix-Devas deal that Indian Space Research Organisation released late Saturday night had “bits and pieces” of information, former ISRO chairman N Madhavan Nair claimed that “the whole panel report had distorted inputs”. He also claimed that “vested interests” were working to ensure the cancellation of the deal, even if it meant omission and fabricating the truth.
The space agency made public the Pratyush Sinha report on the deal along with the earlier report by B K Chaturvedi and Professor Roddam Narasimha late Saturday night.
“I was given a questionnaire by the committee and they seemed satisfied with the replies,” he said and added, “I had gatecrashed into Sinha’s house and had a cordial meeting with him. I was asked for additional inputs, which I sent to him. Since I have not heard anything, I assumed that the recommendations were accepted.”
Nair went so far as to allege that the Secretary of the Department of Space (DoS) was trying to provide half-baked information to ensure the cancellation of the deal.
“This amounts to misleading the government,” the scientist alleged.
On the charge of loading the deal in Devas’ favour, Nair said that for a $300 million contract, they had fixed the penalty at $5 million, which is close to 2 per cent.
“Even in government contracts, this is between 5 and 10 per cent,” he said, adding that the penalty clauses would only be applicable in the case of a “deliberate action of the department” and not due to technical or other unforeseen delays.
He stated that there was no financial loss or spectrum sale but only minor procedural lapses.
“On that (basis) how can anybody do a witch-hunt? The procedural lapses after the report of the Sinha committee are a gross violation of rules,” he said.
On why the ISRO did not report the deal to the government months after the deal was finalised, Nair said that more than 20 such deals with higher number of transponders existed, which were not reported.
“It is the delegated responsibility of Antrix and Antrix board. I don’t think that can be read as a mistake,” he added.