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Former ISRO chief hits back at govt, seeks apology

Last updated on: January 30, 2012 15:45 IST

Former ISRO chief hits back at govt, seeks apology

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Battling the action against him and three other top scientists in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, former Indian Space Research Organisation chief G Madhavan Nair on Monday demanded that the order barring them from government posts should not only be revoked but an apology should be tendered by those responsible for it.

"They owe an apology not to me but to the whole country. Somebody has taken the law into their hands and they have to apologise before the country," said Nair when asked if those who issued the order should apologise.

Nair said the earlier order was issued as per the direction of the government and "competent authority has taken a decision."

"Now, if the government is serious about it, it has to direct the so-called competent authority to do the needful (revoke the order)", he said.

He also said that the government should approach him and the three scientists directly rather than seeking their views through media, asserting that truth has to be established.

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Image: Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair


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On the statement of Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy, that the government is ready to hear their views, Nair said, "I don't know why he should make such statements."

"If any time they ask our views, we will give our views. And by this time, he would have known the views of all of us," Nair said.

The government action came in the wake of the Antrix-Devas deal in which the private firm was allotted scarce S band spectrum by ISRO by allegedly violating rules, when
Nair was the agency's chairman.

The decision has come in for flak from the scientific community including from Professor C N R Rao, head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, who said, they had been "thrown out like garbage."

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Nair said, "The first order copy debarring us from government service has not reached us. Now the government should communicate to us directly. Why through the media?"

"We are citizens of India, residing in India, we have cell (mobile phone) connection and email connection, we have postal address and every thing is there," he said.

"Actually, we have not hijacked an aeroplane or something so that between hijackers and the agency there will be dialogue and what not," said Nair.

He said, "The truth has to be established. The truth will always remain the truth. So, the government should try to collect details from the concerned people and try to establish the truth".

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Image: Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy

Tags: Nair , ISRO , India

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Asked if the "reconciliation tone" of the government was because of strong reaction against the order by the scientific community, he said it's quite possible.

"I am very happy that the scientific community has given such a reaction and they have told the government (about their views) without mincing any words. But this is not an issue to be pressurised and bring a solution like that".

"This is a question of honour of the senior-most scientists of the country and the government has a responsibility to restore their honour," Nair said.

To a question, he said he had not undergone "so much mental strain" (following the order) even when he had faced the failure of the first PSLV rocket in 1993.

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Image: A file photo of a PSLV launch

Tags: ISRO , PSLV , Nair

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