The CBI recently ‘examined’ three former senior officials of the department of space (DoS) as a part of its probe into alleged irregularities in a January 2005 deal between Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) and Bengaluru’s private firm Devas Multimedia Private Limited (DMPL).
One of the officials is a space scientist who played a key role in conceptualising India’s first lunar probe mission.
A CBI source said, “We have examined three then-senior officials of the department of space in Bengaluru who were associated with or had knowledge of the decision-making process connected to the 2005 deal, due to which a loss of Rs 578 crore was allegedly caused to the exchequer. We sought information and clarifications from the three persons who were then at director level or above in the DoS. In course of the probe, after scrutinising their statements, we will determine if they will be witnesses or accused in the case, if there were lapses.”
The source said, “We are still awaiting certain crucial case-related details from a few countries, including Mauritius.”
Due to the “sensitive nature” of the probe, the CBI is unwilling to disclose names of those questioned till it reaches the final stage.
CBI had registered an FIR in March, according to which a then-ACL executive director had allegedly manipulated the award of a contract related to the delivery of video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers and mobile phones via two geo-stationary satellites to the firm despite its ineligibility.
Despite attempts, HT could not contact the ‘examined’ former officials for their comments. “Based on the versions of the examined then officials, more officials will be contacted by us,” said the source.