ISRO to release reports on Antrix-Devas deal

Chennai, Jan 31 (IANS) Indian space agency chief K. Radhakrishnan Tuesday indicated he will soon release reports of two committees on the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, which led to the government blacklisting his predecessor G. Madhavan Nair.

In his first comment on the raging controversy Radhakrishnan made no reference to Nair’s charges that he was behind the central government’s act barring him and three other space scientists from government jobs.
In a brief press statement, Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said the Department of Space is in the process of getting necessary clearances for releasing the reports of two committees that went into the deal.
In a statement, Radhakrishnan who is also the secretary, Department of Space, said: “The Department is in the process of getting necessary clearances for releasing the Reports of the two Committees viz. (a) the High Powered Review Committee set up by Government on Feb 10, 2011 (with Shri B.K.Chaturvedi and Prof. Roddam Narasimha as Members), and (b) The High Level Team set up by Government on May 31, 2011 (chaired by Shri Pratyush Sinha) to examine various aspects of the Antrix-Devas Agreement of January 2005.”
The two committees had submitted their reports and the government Jan 13 had banned ISRO’s immediate past chairman G. Madhavan Nair, A. Bhaskarnarayana, former scientific secretary in ISRO, K.N. Shankara, former director, ISRO Satellite Centre and K.R. Sridharamurthi, former executive director of Antrix from holding any government jobs or any membership in a government committee.
The Department of Space had written to all the state governments about barring the four former space scientists.
The ban order infuriated Nair, who had been awarded Padma Bhushan in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2009. He charged that Radhakrishnan was behind the government’s move to ban him and three other former space officials from any future government jobs.
As per the deal, ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix was to provide 70 MHz S-Band spectrum to Devas which is into multimedia services. Antrix would provide the spectrum by leasing out transponders of two satellites to be built mainly for Devas.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimated the loss to the exchequer to the tune of Rs.2 lakh crore because of the deal.
The centre later scrapped the controversial deal and the matter has gone for arbitration.