Nair demands fresh probe into Antrix-Devas deal

The ex-ISRO chief urged the PMO to order a probe into the reasons behind the annulment of the deal.

Published: 26th February 2012 02:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:03 PM   |  A+A-


PTI file photo

BANGALORE: The ISRO row has intensified with its former chief G Madhavan Nair writing to the PMO to order an enquiry into the reasons behind the annulment of the controversial Antrix-Devas deal and the procedure followed, in a fresh salvo at his successor K Radhakrishnan.

"I have addressed a detailed letter," Nair told PTI here.

"They have made certain charges that I have put a least penalty clause (in the contract)... defence requirements were not met etc, etc... these points ... point by point I have explained to them".

He said he addressed the letter to the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, V Narayanasamy, mainly because he has been making statements based on official inputs. "So I thought he (Narayanasamy) should know there is something beyond official reports. That's the whole purpose (of writing letter to him).

The two-member committee of B K Chaturvedi and Roddam Narasimha reviewed the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the Antrix-Devas agreement and their report said concerns of cheap selling of spectrum to Devas have no basis whatsoever.

But a five-member high-level team, chaired by Pratyush Sinha, which examined the deal and identified acts of omission and commission by government officials, found "... not only serious administrative and procedural lapses but also suggestion of collusive behaviour on the part of certain individuals....".

The Sinha-panel concluded that the four former ISRO scientists, including Nair, were responsible for various acts of commissions.

Last month, on the basis on these two reports, Nair and the other three scientists were black-listed from holding any government assignments.

Nair at the time charged ISRO chairman Radhakrishnan, who is also Space Commission Chairman and Secretary in the Department of Space, with "witch-hunting" and "vendetta" and of misleading the government on the deal.

Noting that the Chaturvedi-Narasimha committee had probed all aspects of the deal till December 2009, Nair said today he has asked the government to conduct an independent enquiry from December 2009 onwards on "what all happened".

He said in the letter to Narayanasamy he has clearly explained vis-a-vis points raised by the committee.

"I also told them (in the letter) that we lost a golden opportunity (by annulling the contract). What needs to be enquired into is the reasons for cancelling the contract and process and procedure that went behind that."

"And also the recent ways of handling files by the Department of Space (with respect to the cancelled contract) have to be looked into," he said, apparently wanting the government to throw light on the role played by Radhakrishnan in cancelling the deal.

He said the Antrix-Devas deal was "such an excellent contract. It would have brought new technologies to the country. It (the satellite under the deal) was about to be launched. What forced them to make such cancellation and then create all this drama afterwards?"

Nair had written to the Prime Minister a month ago requesting him to quash the order blacklisting him. There was no response from the PM though Nair has received an acknowledgement.

Nair said the entire scientific community is condemning the action against the four scientists. "Almost a month has passed, why no action (to revoke the ban) by the government is really surprising," he said.

"The government has not looked into what the four scientists have done and delivered to the country. Simply picking some distorted reports of Pratyush Sinha panel, drastic action has been taken without knowledge and procedure."


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