G Madhavan Nair, the architect of India's moon mission and former head of the national space agency, on Monday pleaded with PM Manmohan Singh to stall a decision to “wrongly” penalise him, as leading scientists backed him to the hilt. But the government isn’t blinking yet.
Minister of state V Narayansamy however told HT that the government would “sincerely look into” Nair's appeal.
The government, had on January 13, barred Nair, among four top scientists, from taking up government roles for alleged wrongdoing in a satellite deal.
Leading scientists have now openly said that they suspect the government had made "scapegoats of reputed scientists" to shield bureaucrats and topshots from the department of telecom, which is already at the centre of a high-profile scam.
Nair told HT that he has written to Singh, who heads the space department, to "restore his honour" by "intervening and revoking the ban and holding a formal inquiry".
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 Isro, while Deutsche Telekom is an investor in the privately held Devas.
The government had set up two panels to go into the controversial Antrix-Devas joint venture. None of them gave the four scientists, whose roles were being examined, a chance to present their case.
“It is this summary style justice, which is worrisome. Why did the government order a second inquiry? Is it the case that the first inquiry’s findings had named others,” said PM Bhargava, known as the “father”of India's molecular biology.
Come clean on deal, BJP to govt
The BJP on Monday attacked the government over accusations regarding corruption in the ISRO-Devas deal and “mishandling” the army chief age row.
With the government banning four space scientists party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman demanded answers from Prime Minister’s Office regarding accusations of corruption in the deal: “The PM needs to answer...What happened to the report of the high-level probe ordered by the PM?”She also objected to the government asking the army to reconcile documents to make 1950 army chief’s date of birth uniformly, reminding it that the case was already before the court that had to take a call on this. She added the government had shown lack of “statecraft” in the whole episode.