Former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair on Thursday rubbished suggestions of a scam in the scrapped controversial Antrix-Devas deal and maintained that estimation of huge loss to the exchequer is "totally erroneous".
Speaking to PTI, Nair said people are trying to mix up spectrum vis-a-vis satellite transponder leasing, adding, these are two different issues. "ISRO deals with only leasing of transponders".
He said ISRO was supposed to give two transponders to Devas which is not unsual as, for example, Tata Sky have leased 12 (ISRO) transponders from one satellite completely for their use.
Even if ISRO gave transponders to an operator, the latter can't start operations such as uplinking, downlinking and beaming over the Indian continent till it got licence from the Department of Telecom, Nair said.
As per his understanding, even in late 2009, Devas was still trying to get DoT licence and no licence had been granted at the time. "The whole thing is not linked to spectrum usage or anything, and the amount of what's projected as Rs 20,000 crore etc is totally erroneous", he said.
"ISRO's budget is hardly Rs 4,000 crore per year. If I (ISRO) can get Rs 20,000 crore by supplying two transponders, what's the need for any government support for ISRO?", Nair asked. "So, it's totally an erroneous argument".
One should compare the cost of transponder with prices prevailing in the international market, he contended. "Trying to link up the whole deal as scam etc is ....it's based on wrong understanding of the issue".