NEW DELHI / BANGALORE: The government action barring former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair and three other top-notch space scientists — K Bhaskaranarayana, former scientific secretary of ISRO; K N Shankara, former director of the ISRO satellite centre; and K R Sridharamurthy, managing director of Antrix, ISRO’s commercial wing — from holding any government job, in view of the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, seems to have kicked off an ugly row.
Nair, on Wednesday, reacted sharply to the development and accused the current ISRO chief, K Radhakrishnan, of being behind the move and for pursuing a “personal agenda” to mislead the government. “There was no hearing, they just sent us a questionnaire and did not even reply if the answers were satisfactory. The procedure would be to file a chargesheet and then take administrative action. This has not happened,” Nair said, adding he found out about the decision through media reports and was yet to receive any official communication for the same.
Nair now plans to file an RTI application to find how the decision to ban him and the others was arrived at.
Former energy secretary E A S Sarma shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a copy of which is available with the Express, raising several uncomfortable questions on why punishment was meted out to Nair and the three others without giving them “an opportunity to present their respective cases?”
“Is the government afraid that they will point fingers at the others referred above (namely, “officials of the Cabinet Secretariat and PMO”)?” Sarna wrote in his letter to the PM. The PMO, however, vehemently denied any hand in prompting or sanctioning of the controversial Antrix-Devas deal.
It was cited by the PMO that the government’s action against the four scientists is based on a report submitted by the high-level team headed by former CVC Pratyush Sinha, set up by the PM on May 31, 2011, which looked into the Antrix-Devas deal, in which a private firm was accused to have been wrongly allotted crucial S-band frequencies for radio waves.
The team was formed following findings of a two-member high-powered committee to review all aspects of the S-band allocation to a private entity.