Approach us directly, Nair tells Govt

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

"Certainly. They owe an apology not to me but to the whole country. Somebody has taken 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 as it's a question of their honour.

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 told PTI: "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 allegedly violating rules, when Nair was the agency's chairman.

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

Nair said, "The first order copy debarring us from Government service has not reached us.Now even such a communication, even if it is there, government should communicate to us directly. Why through 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, "Truth has to be established.Truth will remain truth always.So, the government should try to collect details from the concerned people and try to establish the truth."

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 without mincing words. But the thing is this is not an issue to be pressurised and bring a solution and things like that".

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

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

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