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ISRO war hots up! Antrix-Devas report to be released

Last updated on: January 31, 2012 16:49 IST

ISRO war hots up! Antrix-Devas report to be released

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Seeking to fend of attacks on his credentials in the Indian Space Research Organisation row, the space body's chief K Radhakrishnan on Tuesday said probe reports on Antrix-Devas deal that led to punitive action against his predecessor G Madhavan Nair and three fellow space scientists will be released after getting due clearance.

Breaking his silence on the controversy, Radhakrishnan in a brief statement said the Department of Space was in the process of getting necessary clearances for releasing reports of the high-powered review committee and the high level team formed to examine various aspects of the Antrix-Devas agreement of January 2005.

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Nair welcomed the move to release the reports and said this should be done fast.

"I welcome the move. The reports must be released fast and I am confident that truth will prevail," he said. "There is nothing related to defence or anything. So, better to put the whole document into public domain."

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Image: ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan


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'Government holds Madhavan Nair in high esteem'

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Radhakrishnan, also the DoS Secretary, was accused by Nair of misleading the government and pursuing a "personal agenda" after the former ISRO boss and the three scientists were barred from holding any government posts on the basis of the two reports in the wake of alleged irregularities in allocation of scarce S-band spectrum to a private firm.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy meanwhile sought to douse the controversy over his reported comments targetting Nair and the other three scientists, saying the government holds all of them in "high esteem".

"As far as the four scientists are concerned we hold all our scientists in high esteem, especially Madhavan Nair. He (Nair) has been doing very good service when he was holding chairman of ISRO, Space Commission and also Antrix corporation," he said.

Narayanasamy had reportedly said the government decision was taken to send a strong message to the scientific community that no wrongdoing would be tolerated. The minister's comments came while defending the punitive action.

The government had on February 10, 2011 set up the high powered review committee with B K Chaturvedi and Prof Roddam Narasimha as members to review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the agreement.

"The scientists should have been given a chance. It is good that the report will be made public. The first thing is that the misunderstandings should be cleared," Narasimha said.


Image: Former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair


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'Confident that PM will revoke ban orders'

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The five-member high-level team, headed by former central vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha, was set up on May 31, 2011 to examine the deal and identify the acts of omission and commission by government officials.

Nair expressed confidence that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would revoke the order against him and the three scientists -- former scientific secretary A Bhaskarnarayana, ISRO's former satellite centre director K N Shankara and former Antrix Corporation executive director K R Sridharamurthi. He said he told the prime minister in a letter that the order amounts to tarnishing the image of the reputed scientists.

Nair said the normal procedure is to give individuals an opportunity to explain if any panel comes out with any findings against them. "If the explanation is not satisfactory, then only action is to be taken. It (the order) is a clear violation of procedures," he said in the letter to the prime minister.

Nair said he is confident of a positive response from the prime minister. "I know him very well. I (as secretary in the department of space) had the opportunity to work with him for almost six years. He has always been positive. I have great confidence that he will take right decision."

Asked if he is confident that the order would be revoked, he said, "Entire nation is supporting the idea. It (revoking of the order) should happen."


Image: Nair has written a letter to Dr Singh


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