NEW DELHI: In a damning action, the government on Wednesday barred former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief G Madhavan Nair and three other top-notch space scientists from any re-employment for their alleged role in the controversial allocation of scarce S-band space segment to private firm Devas.
The action against Madhavan Nair, 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, the ISRO’s commercial wing, seems to have kicked up 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 pursuing a “personal agenda’’ to mislead the government.
Former energy secretary E A S Sarma shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a copy of which is available with Express, raising several uncomfortable questions as to why punishment was meted out to Nair and three others without giving “an opportunity to them to present their respective cases?’’ “Is the government afraid that they will point fingers at the others referred above (namely, “officials of Cabinet Secretariat and PMO’’)?’’ Sarma wrote in his letter to the PM.
The PMO, however, vehemently denied any hand in the prompting or sanctioning the controversial Antrix-Devas deal. It was cited by the PMO that the government’s action against the four scientists was based on a report submitted by the high-level team headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha, set up by the Prime Minister on May 31, 2011, which looked into the Antrix-Devas deal, in which a private company was accused to have been wrongly allotted crucial S-band frequencies for radio waves.
Incidentally, Radhakrishnan, whom Nair accused of “pursuing a personal agenda,” is one of the five members of the high-level team headed by Sinha.
The team was formed following the findings of a two-member high-powered review committee, constituted by the PMO on February 10, 2011, to review technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the S-band allocation to a private entity.