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Antrix-Devas deal: Govt ready to hear scientists' views

January 29, 2012 18:21 IST

The government on Sunday said it was ready to hear the points of view of four scientists, including former Indian Space Research Organisation chief Madhavan Nair, who have been barred from occupying any government posts in connection with the controversial Antrix-Devas deal.

"We are ready to hear their points of view. Let them give their views", Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said.

Asked whether there was any move to revoke the decision, he said, "How can I say that now. Let them give their points of view first."

The government would consider the version of the scientists, he told PTI.

The government had earlier this month barred Nair and three other senior space scientists from all current and future government jobs for their alleged role in Antrix Corporation's deal with Devas Multimedia for leasing out bulk transponders on two satellites for launch of digital multimedia services. The contract related to allocation of scarce S-band space segment to private firm Devas.

Taking serious exception to the move, Prof C N R Rao, head of the scientific advisory council to the prime minister, had on Saturday said Nair and three fellow space scientists were "thrown out like garbage".

Rao had targeted Narayanasamy for his reported comments that the government decision was taken to send a strong message to the scientific community that no wrongdoing would be tolerated.

Earlier, reacting to the decision, 68-year-old Nair had hit back at the government for taking action "in violation of principles of natural justice and tarnishing the image of reputed people like him."

He has also attacked the incumbent ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan, saying that he had misled the government on the issue.

Radhakrishnan has reportedly remained unfazed by his Nair's outbursts against him and has chosen not to react.

The deal was signed during the tenure of Nair as the chairman of ISRO. Nair was also the person behind India's maiden moon mission Chandrayan-I.

The government had taken action after considering a report of the high powered committee (HPC) that went into the Devas deal and that of another panel which examined the HPC report.

The prime minister had on May 31, last year constituted a five-member high-level team under the chairmanship of former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha to examine aspects of the agreement between Antrix and Devas.

Following the order, Madhavan Nair has stepped down as chairman of the board of governors of IIT-Patna.

On whether he is planning to move the court against the government order, Nair had said that he has filed an application under the RTI Act to get a copies of the order and reports of the B K Chaturvedi Committee on the Antrix-Devas deal.

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