NEWDELHI: The Central Government’s apparent softening of stand, when it indicated that it was ready to give a hearing to four former ISRO scientists, with regard to the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, has come after the government drew flak from both Madhavan Nair - one of the four - and the scientific community at large. Another former ISRO chief U R Rao had described the turn of events as “unfortunate and sad”, especially the manner in which eminent scientists were penalised without so much as a chance for defence - which largely echoed Madhavan’s own reaction.
Even beyond this, there was an opinion building up among scientists against the seeming harshness of the order. The government may also have been moved into its reconciliatory tone after seeing the general sense of dismay in the scientific community over what seemed
to be a personalised battle among the current and former ISRO chiefs, something that was threatening to besmirch the top rungs of its space establishment.
Madhavan had openly accused his successor, K Radhakrishnan, of targeting him and three of his colleagues. Radhakrishnan was a member of one of the committees that inquired into the Antrix-Devas deal in which space spectrum was leased to a private firm without any tender.