BANGALORE: Stating that the report on the Antrix-Devas deal that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had “bits and pieces” of information, former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair has claimed that “the whole panel report had distorted inputs”.
He also claimed that “vested interests” were working hard to ensure the cancellation of the deal, even if it meant omitting and fabricating the truth.
The space agency made public the Pratyush Sinha report on the deal alongwith the earlier report by B K Chaturvedi and Professor Roddam Narasimha late on 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 back, I assumed that the recommendations were accepted.” He alleged 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,” he alleged.
On the charge of loading the deal in Devas’s favour, Nair said that for a $300 million contract, they had fixed the penalty at $5 million only, which is about 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 case of a “deliberate action of the department” and not due to technical or other unforeseen delays.
He said that there was no financial loss or spectrum sale but only minor procedural lapses.
“On that (basis) how can anybody do a witchhunt?,” he said adding that a “secret circular” was issued without taking any action under pension rules or other laws recommended by Sinha committee.
On why ISRO did not report the deal to the government months after it was finalised, he said over 20 such deals with higher number of transponders existed which were not reported.
“It is the responsibility of Antrix and Antrix board,” he said.