CAG report slams ex-Isro chief for Antrix-Devas deal | delhi | Hindustan Times
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CAG report slams ex-Isro chief for Antrix-Devas deal

The Antrix-Devas deal breached rules and top scientists - including the architect of India's moon mission, G Madhavan Nair - scuttled transparency to push it through, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report before Parliament Tuesday. Space-age scam

delhi Updated: May 16, 2012 01:40 IST
HT Correspondent

The Antrix-Devas deal breached rules and top scientists - including the architect of India's moon mission, G Madhavan Nair - scuttled transparency to push it through, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report before Parliament Tuesday.

The audit confirms an earlier probe's findings of wrongdoing by some of India's best known scientists who were at the helm of the national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/16_05-pg8b.jpg

The charges relate to a 2005 deal to sell satellite space or "airwaves" to a private firm Devas by state-owned Antrix, in violation of rules, such a failure to set up a proper bid.

Antrix is the commercial arm of the Isro, while Deutsche Telekom is an investor in the privately-held Devas.

The deal was revoked in February 2011, after the government discovered several irregularities.

The audit did not put a definitive figure to losses in potential government revenue as it had done in the 2G scam, but to give an idea of its worth, the CAG cited Rs. 38,543 crore earned by the government's subsequent auctioning of a comparable broadband-carrying airwaves of 60-megahertz capacity.

Had the deal gone through, the government could have incurred similar losses, the top report concluded. Among its most flagrant violations, the deal gave Devas 70 megahertz of a special type of radio spectrum, of which 10 megahertz was for "strategic" national use only.

"The Antrix-Devas agreement was a classic case of promotion of interest of an individual private entity viz Devas, at the cost of public interest," the CAG said.

The audit specifically blamed ex-Isro chief Madhavan and his colleague A Bhaskaranarayana for subverting rules, concealing "facts" and exercising powers they never had to unduly favour Devas.