Why are babus off the hook in Antrix-Devas deal, asks Dr Pushpa Bhargava

In a strongly worded letter to the prime minister, Dr Pushpa Bhargava who established genetic engineering in India, has expressed shock that not a single bureaucrat has been singled out in the controversial Antrix- Devas Mulitmedia deal.

“No deal on that scale could have been executed without the knowledge of senior bureaucrats in the Department of Space. Why have senior scientists been taken to task while bureaucrats have been allowed to go scot free ?” asks Dr Bhargava in this letter.

While Minister of state in the PMO A. Narayanasamy has stressed that the government’s decision to take action against ISRO chief Madhavan Nair and three top scientists was the result of the findings of two government appointed committees, Bhargava asks why the findings of these committees have not been placed in the public domain.

Dr Bhargava also questions why the present ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan was appointed one of the members of the two member Suresh Committee.

“Radkakrishnan was a party to the Antrix-Devas deal. This was a clear case of conflict of interest,” he said, while expressing surprise over why none of the scientists were asked to explain their point of view before these committees, in person.

“Even more significant is that earlier chairmen of the Department of Space (DoS) including Prof UR Rao and Prof Kasturirangan are top notch scientists while Rao is also a member of the Space Commission. They understand the functioning of DoS and should have been asked to provide their expertise and insight to these proceedings,” he said.

He stressed that the findings of an earlier committee headed by B.K. Chaturvedi and Prof R. Narasimhan on this Antrix Devas deal has also been hushed up.

Saying that DoS enjoyed the reputation of being the best functioning of all scientific departments primarily because of the legacy of outstanding scientists of the calibre of Dr Vikram Sarabhai and Dr Satish Dhawan who had headed it, he says: “These scientists had set up a tradition of transparency, honesty, accountability and efficiency which unfortunately has been destroyed by this abominable action.”

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