ISRO to release report that indicted Nair

Zeenews Bureau

Bangalore: The Department of Space is in the process of getting clearances for release of reports of two committees on the controversial Antrix-Devas deal on the basis of which former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and three other scientists were barred from holding any government posts.

This was announced today by ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, also the DOS Secretary, in a brief statement in his first comments on the issue ever since the controversy erupted over the damning action taken against the four space scientists.

Radhakrishnan said DOS was in the process of getting necessary clearances for releasing reports of the High Powered Review Committee and the High Level Team formed to examine various aspects of the Antrix-Devas agreement of January 2005.

The government had on February 10, 2011 set up the High Powered Review Committee with B K Chaturvedi and Prof Roddam Narasimha as members to review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the agreement.

The five-member high level team, headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, was set up on May 31, 2011 to examine the deal and identify the acts of omission and commission by government officials.

Bitter over the government action, Nair has demanded an apology from those responsible for it and dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for revoking the official order barring them from holding government posts.

In his letter, Nair also wanted a probe into the entire matter that led to the action that has caused outrage among the scientific community.

Nair, the key figure behind India's moon mission, had accused Radhakrishnan of being responsible for the punitive action against him and the three others because of a "personal agenda".

Reacting to today’s statement, Nair told a news channel: “Well, two lines (Radhakrishnan’s statement) doesn’t contain anything…we all know that clearance is required and just conveying that is evading the issue.”

“I don’t see there is any reason for indicting anyone of us. Report should be made public, the sooner the better…our hands are absolutely clean,” he added.

After the controversy broke out last year, the government had annulled the controversial deal between ISRO's commercial arm 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. The agreement was signed on January 28, 2005.

Consequently, the Department of Space (DoS) got the Cabinet approval for the building of GSAT-6 at a cost of Rs.269 crore (Rs 2.69 billion) and GSAT-6A at a cost of Rs 147 crore (Rs 1.47 billion) under the Commission's delegated powers