Former ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan has been examined by CBI in connection with the agency’s probe into alleged irregularities in an agreement between private multi-media company Devas and Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation.
CBI sources said on Thursday that Radhakrishnan, who was also the chairman of Antrix, was interrogated for nearly two hours at Antrix’s office in Bengaluru.
The move came at a time when Antrix has been slapped a fine of about Rs 4,400 crore (672 million dollars) by International Arbitration Court for unilaterally terminating the contract with Devas which was planning to use the spectrum to launch satellite-based multimedia services on hand-held devices.
CBI had registered a case and submitted an FIR against the then Executive Director of Antrix K R Sridhara Murthi, M G Chandrasekhar and R Vishwanathan of Forge Advisors, Devas Multi-media Private Limited and unnamed officials of Antrix, ISRO and Department of Space in a designated court in Bengaluru.
The agency has slapped cases under 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act against them.
The Antrix-Devas deal had seen early exit of G Madhavan Nair as Chairman of ISRO as he was the Chairman of the Governing Council of Antrix when the deal was finalised.
CBI has alleged that the accused people had entered into a criminal conspiracy and the government officials and favoured Devas by giving them rights for delivery of videos, multimedia and information services to mobile phones using S-Band through GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A satellites and terrestrial systems in India.
The CBI alleged that Devas had submitted false, wrong and incorrect information claiming that it had the technology and was fully capable of delivering the S-DMB services to get the rights of delivering same in India through PS1 and PS2 and consequently, Devas allegedly got “wrongful gain of more than Rs 578 crores (approx) from various investors from USA, Mauritius, Singapore etc.”
The CBI claimed that Devas, with the intent to siphon off the amount from its bank accounts in India, got a subsidiary in another name incorporated in USA and a substantial part of wrongful gain was remitted to this new company of USA on the pretext of services, salaries, etc, a charge that has been denied by the company.
Devas has taken Antrix and the Government to International Court after its contract was cancelled by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2011.