Why one man four posts, Par panel asks ISRO

Against the backdrop of controversial Antrix-Devas deal, the practice of one person holding the post of ISRO Chairman came in for questioning by a Parliamentary panel.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the
controversial Antrix-Devas deal, the practice of one person
holding the post of ISRO Chairman along with top positions in
Antrix, Department of Space and Space Commission came in for
questioning today by a Parliamentary panel.

The questions were raised by members of Parliament`s
Committee on Estimates during a meeting where ISRO Chairman K
Radhakrishnan and other top officials were present.

The Estimates Committee, headed by Lok Sabha member
Francisco Sardinha, today began examination of the
controversial Antrix-Devas deal on scarce S-band space
segment, which has since been annulled by the government.
Radhakrishnan, accompanied by ISRO Scientific Secretary
V S Hegde, ISRO Satellite Centre Director T K Alex among
others, made presentations before the Committee on the
activities of the space agency.

Towards the end of the presentation, Committee members
including Chandrakant Khaire, Raghuvansh Prasad and Manish
Tewari, raised matters related to the Antrix Corporation`s
deal with Devas Multimedia for lease of S-band space segment
on two satellites.
One of the members wanted to know whether it was stated
in the law that one person would hold the posts of Chairman
ISRO, Chairman Space Commission, Chairman Antrix Corporation
and Secretary, Department of Space.

Radhakrishnan holds all the posts at present.

Radhakrishnan told the members that the government had
in February annulled the controversial deal between Antrix
Corporation and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for lease of
space segment in S-band.

Under the deal, Antrix was to provide 70 MHz of the
scarce S-Band space segment to Devas for its digital
multimedia services. This was to be done by leasing 90 per
cent of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that
are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to
pay Antrix a total of $300 million over 12 years.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had ordered a review of
the deal by a committee comprising B K Chaturvedi, Member,
Planning Commission and aerospace scientist Roddam Narsimha.

The committee had submitted its report to the Prime
Minister on March 12. Singh had asked Cabinet Secretary K M
Chandrashekar to examine the report.

Radhakrishnan told the Committee that the Cabinet
Secretary was yet to give his report to the Prime Minister.