Panel shows Devas deal was not wrong: Ex-scientist

February 5th, 2012 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

ISRO Chennai, Feb 5 (IANS) A former space scientist blacklisted by the government from holding any government job over the Antrix-Devas deal said Sunday that the report by a two-member panel has vindicated their stand that scarce national resources were not thrown away cheaply.

“We have been saying that scarce national resource was not given away to any private party at throwaway prices. That is what the the two-member committee comprising B.K. Chaturvedi and Roddam Narasimha has concluded,” A. Bhaskaranarayana, former scientific secretary at ISRO, told IANS.

The two-membered panel said the deal may not have resulted in huge revenue loss - Rs.2 lakh crore - for the central government as projected by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and has also ruled out cheap selling of spectrum to Devas.

The panel and another five-member committee headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha went into the controversial deal between ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corp and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia. The deal was scrapped by the government.

Bhaskaranarayana is one of the four space scientists blacklisted by the central government from any government jobs or membership in a government committee last month.

The three other scientists facing the flak are G. Madhavan Nair, former chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K.R. Sridharamurthi, former executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, and K.N. Shankara, former director of the ISRO satellite centre.

Bhaskaranarayana said the ban order on the four space scientists was “very severe”.

Referring to the indictment by the Sinha committee, he said: “As to the procedural lapses listed out by another committee, all I have to say is we had followed the earlier practice and nothing new.”

The Sinha committee has concluded that there have been serious lapses of judgement on the part of various officials, and in some cases the actions verged on the point of breach of public trust.

As per the deal, 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.

Referring to the CAG’s estimation of loss, Bhaskaranarayana said: “We don’t know how the CAG had arrived at the loss figure as the space and terrestrial spectrum cannot be compared.”

Bhaskaranarayana said he has to study the reports made public Saturday night and decide on the future course of action.

He said if the four scientists were guilty or had malafide intention in concluding the Antrix-Devas deal, then they would have joined the private company post retirement.

“None of us have joined Devas. You can check out with other ISRO officials about our integrity. We have built our reputation over several decades,” Bhaskaranarayana said.

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