Bangalore: One of India’s best know aerospace scientist Professor Roddam Narasimha has resigned from the Space Commission to protest against the Union Government’s decision to blacklist former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and three others for their role in the Antrix-Devas deal.
Narasimha was part of Prime Minister`s High Powered Committee to probe the Antrix-Devas contract. Narasimha conducted the probe along with Planning Commission member and former cabinet secretary BK Chaturvedi. The two-member panel was set up on February 10, 2011 and the panel submitted its report on March 12, 2011.
As per a Deccan Chronicle report, prior to submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Narasimha reportedly wrote to him that ‘public humiliation’ of the former technocrats was unjustified.
As part of the Space Commission, Narasimha was among those who formulated India’s space policy and had important role in the PSLV and Chandrayaan Mission, among others. ISRO Chief Dr K Radhakrishnan also officiates the chairman of the Space Commission.
Narasimha said that the report on Antrix-Devas deal had only pointed out lapses and suggested measures to prevent their recurrence and had not found any evidence of wrong-doing or fraud for personal gain.
Talking to a newspaper, the Bangalore-based scientist said that he is deeply distressed over the humiliation heaped on those who had spent their lives working for the nation.
"I think the Space Commission should also undergo reforms process and therefore it seems best that a new Commission implement these reforms,” he said.
However, the newspaper, quoting sources at the ISRO, says that Professor Narasimha was upset with the government for having constituted another panel – under former CVC Pratyush Sinha - to probe the Antrix-Devas deal and for the action taken on Nair on the basis of the Sinha panel report.
Narasimha had been vocal about his opposition to the black-listing of top scientists. "I think the scientists should have been given a chance. There`s a strong misunderstanding that should first be corrected before any action is contemplated…Blame (Nair and others) for what? Let`s first get that clear. I think the debate is now going on without understanding what the blame is for. I think it would be good to release the reports," he said.
Meanwhile, the scientist fraternity in the country has termed Narasimha’s exit as a big loss for country’s space programme.