Nair demands probe into Radhakrishnan's role in scrapping deal


Accusing ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan of misleading government on the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, his predecessor G. Madhavan Nair on Sunday pressed the Centre to order a probe into his role in the cancellation of the contract saying only this would bring out the facts.

"They (the government) must look at what's Radhakrishnan's role in cancelling the contract. What is his interest in cancelling the contract? Was he under pressure from some quarter or other? Or was it his own making?," Nair told agencies.

"That's what is to be investigated. He (Radhakrishnan) had done lot of damage to the government in the process, and he has to answer these things," he said.

On the affidavit filed by the Department of Space (DoS) before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Kochi, Nair said there was nothing new in it. "They have told the same story they have put out earlier."

Nair said the DoS keeps on harping that Devas sold its shares at a high value but pointed out that "that's not in the purview of the DoS at all. Unnecessarily, they (DoS) are trying to bark at the wrong tree."

He also said while Antrix-Devas deal was signed in 2004-05, when Nair was Secretary in the DoS and ISRO chairman, sale of shares of Devas took place in 2010 when Radhakrishnan was in-charge (as DoS Secretary and ISRO chairman). "And he (Radhakrishnan) is answerable for these things. Not me."

"If the Department of Space has come to know that there was a share sale at a higher price in 2010, until 2011 they kept quiet and now in 2012 only they are taking some action on Devas. It's a problem of Devas and not any one of us," the former ISRO chief said.

On DoS contention that the commitment for building a second satellite under the Antrix-Devas deal and the expenditure on it was without any financial authorisation from the Union Cabinet, Nair said the idea was mooted in September 2009 and Radhakrishnan was a member of the Space Commission which endorsed it at its meeting

"And minutes of the meeting were approved by him (Radhakrishnan) in March 2010. So, he (Radhakrishnan) is responsible for it, not me. He (Radhakrishnan) also has to share responsibility," he said.

Nair said an Additional Secretary in the Department of Space has been named in the report of Pratyush Sinha committee (appointed by the government to probe the deal) in regard to preparing minutes of the meeting, while there is no mention of Radhakrishnan (who was part of this five-member committee) who approved them.

He said the contents of the affidavit were as expected as DoS has no legal points to defend the case against him. "So, they will go for tarnishing the image rather than legally fighting it out," Nair alleged

On how he read the affidavit, he said: "They are trying to save their skin. They want to pass the buck to somebody else." Nair also noted that the affidavit does not cite a single rule that he violated.

He charged the ISRO Chairman with giving 'wrong inputs' to the Pratyush Sinha committee, where Radhakrishnan himself was sitting as a member.

"He (Radhakrishnan) has distorted the whole thing and that has to be seen by the government, by an independent team. Then only facts will come out. I think that's what the government should seriously consider. Government has been misled (by Radhakrishnan)."

Nair had moved the CAT last month challenging the government's decision to bar him from holding government posts for his alleged role in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal and seeking its quashing.

Seeking dismissal of Nair's plea, the Centre, in its affidavit, said yesterday there were 'lapses' and 'irregularities' on his part in the Antrix-Devas deal and government had to take action on the basis of findings of two high-level committees.

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