Home India News Nair, three others found responsible for controversial deal

Nair, three others found responsible for controversial deal


Chennai : A five-member team that probed a controversial deal between Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia has concluded that former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair and three other scientists were responsible for the contract.

The other three are A. Bhaskaranarayana, former scientific secretary at ISRO, K.R. Sridharamurthi, former executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, and K.N Shankara, former director of the ISRO satellite centre.

The committee, chaired by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha, concluded that there have been serious lapses of judgement on the part of various officials, and in some cases the actions verged on the point of breach of public trust.

As per the deal, ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix was to provide 70 MHz S-Band spectrum to Devas, which is into multimedia services. Antrix would provide the spectrum by leasing out transponders of two satellites to be built mainly for Devas.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimated the loss to the exchequer to the tune of Rs.2 lakh crore because of the deal. The centre later scrapped the controversial deal.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan had recently asked for making public the reports of the committee related to the cancelled deal.

Holding Nair, Bhaskaranarayana, Sridharamurthi and Shankara as mainly responsible for leading the Department of Space (DOS) and Antrix for the contract, the Sinha committee has recommended to the government taking action against them under the relevant sections of pension rules or any other provisions of law.

The committee also recommended actions under pension rules against retired officials S.S. Meenakshisundaram and Veena Rao, and against G. Balachandran and R.G. Nadadur under the relevant service rules.

It also recommended investigation by an appropriate agency to look into the changing pattern of ownership of Devas, the illegal financial benefit derived by individuals and officials, and the extent to which the increased valuation of Devas shares were encashed by individuals.

The committee also recommended investigation into the shareholding pattern of Devas and that of two Mauritius-based companies owing shares in Devas.

The central government Jan 13 had banned Nair, Bhaskaranarayana, Shankara and Sridharamurthi, from holding any government jobs or any membership in a government committee.

Nair, who had been awarded Padma Bhushan in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2009, said ISRO’s current chairman Radhakrishnan was behind the government’s ban order.