Antrix-Devas deal case: Court grants bail to former space department official
Former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair and others are accused of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.india Updated: Feb 15, 2018 19:15 IST
A special court Thursday granted bail to a former additional secretary in Department of Space (DoS) in the Antrix-Devas deal case involving former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair as an accused, in which a loss of Rs 578 crore was allegedly caused to the exchequer.
Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted the relief to Veena Sri Ram Rao after she appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against her and others on September 16 last year.
“Co-accused, who have put appearance, have already been granted bail. In these circumstances, it is deemed just and proper to grant bail to accused Ms Veena Sri Ram Rao on her furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 50,000, with two sureties of the like amount,” the court said while granting exemption to Nair from personal appearance for the day.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 26 and directed the CBI to hand over certain documents, filed along with the charge sheet, to the accused persons who have been granted bail in the case.
Earlier, the CBI had informed the court that two accused -- a former director of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, MG Chandrasekhar and Ramachandran Viswanathan -- could not be served summons as they had settled in the US and the process was still on to execute the summons to them.
It had on December 23 taken a strict view over Rao’s non-appearance on the ground that she had a meeting with the Karnataka chief minister. “She (Rao) should be careful about her decisions...Since it is her first appearance after the summons, she is exempted,” the judge had said.
On December 23, the court had granted bail to Nair and other co-accused persons -- including A Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then director in ISRO and KR Sridhar Murthy, the then executive director of Antrix -- after they appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against them on September 16.
The court had summoned Nair and others as accused while taking cognisance of the CBI charge sheet which alleged that the scientist and other officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space (DoS) had wrongfully leased out S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites, to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.
The cognisance of the final probe report was taken after the CBI had apprised the court that it had secured the sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute the former officials of premier space organisations.
The FIR was filed on March 16, 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
The probe agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused, alleging they had caused a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.
The case relates to leasing of S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.