ISRO report indicts Nair, 3 others in Antrix-Devas deal
Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and three other senior scientists, who were barred from holding any government posts, have been indicted by the country's top space body-appointed committee for acts of commission in the Antrix-Devas deal.
However, Nair on Sunday claimed that the report is one-sided. "They have looked only at the papers and the answers to the questions. If they had seen some omissions, they should have sought clarifications. I will ask for the full report," Nair said while speaking to CNN-IBN.
The report prepared by a committee headed by Pratyush Sinha, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, said Antrix-Devas deal lacked transparency and recommended that action needs to be taken against Nair, A Bhaskaranarayana, KR Sridhara Murthi and KN Shankara all of whom have retired.
The Antrix is the commercial arm of ISRO and Devas.
The five-member high level team, which was set up to examine the deal and identify the acts of omission and commission by government officials, said in its report made public last night that "...there have not only been serious administrative and procedural lapses but also suggestion of collusive behaviour on the part of certain individuals and accordingly, responsibilities have to be fixed for taking action".
The Pratyush Sinha committee, set up on May 31 last year to examine the deal and identify the acts of omission and commission by government officials, said choosing Devas for the deal "seems to be lacking in transparency and due diligence".
It said "the approval process (for the deal) was riddled with incomplete and inaccurate information given to the union cabinet and the Space Commission".
While the Antrix-Devas agreement was signed on January, 28, 2005, "this fact was not disclosed to the Space Commission or in the Cabinet note dated November 27, 2005, in which approval was sought for the launch of GSAT 6, one of the satellites to be build under the agreement".
The committee report said in the cabinet note, however, "an erroneous impression was sought to be created that ISRO was in receipt of several firm expressions of interest by service providers for the utilisation of satellite capacity on commercial terms".
"This appears to be deliberate as the existence of the agreement was not disclosed even when seeking approval later of the Space Commission for the GSAT 6A satellite."
The committee also proposes action against four other scientists SS Meenakshisundaram, Veena Rao, G Balachadran and RG Nadadur "who have been found responsible for the acts of omissions by not paying enough attention to details and not ensuring that the various notes that were put up for decision to the competent authorities included all necessary details and had undergone various necessary consultative processes".
Prior to the setting up of Pratyush Sinha Committee, the government had on February 10, 2011, set up the High Powered Review Committee with BK Chaturvedi and Roddam Narasimha as members to review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the Antrix-Devas agreement of January 2005.