Scandals have been the bane of the UPA 2 government. This time it is no other than the former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G. Madhavan Nair who is gunning for the government. The government is still trying to put the age controversy of the Army Chief behind it.
Madhavan Nair, who is Padma Bhushan (1998) and Padma Vibhushan (2009) awardee blasted the government for blacklisting him and 3 other scientists from holding any government posts in the future. The other three who have been blacklisted are A. Bhaskarnarayana, former scientific secretary in ISRO, K.N. Shankara, former director of ISRO Satellite Centre, and K.R. Sridharamurthi, former executive director of Antrix.
The blacklisting occurred after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) found that the exchequer lost revenues to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore, in a deal between Antrix and Devas. According to the deal Antrix the commercial arm of ISRO was to provide 70 MHz S-Band spectrum to Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd.
The deal was annulled by the government. The blacklisting order was put out by the Department of Space January 13 order. The former director described the order as â€œimproperâ€ and â€œtotally unjustâ€ and said that he was not interested in serving in any position under the present government.
He also accused the ISRO current chairman K. Radhakrishnan of inefficiency and pursuing a personal agenda. He said that the agency has â€œgone to the dogsâ€ under him.
“Even in an autocratic/military regime an opportunity would have been given to the person who has been blacklisted. No such opportunity was given to me. I am shocked at the order which has not been served on me.
“I am yet to see the order. Once it is sent to me, I will decide on the appropriate action.” Madhavan Nair said talking to IANS.
He alleged that Radhakrishnan had been unable to live up to expectations of ISRO and was resorting to actions like blacklisting others to divert attention.
“He may not be knowing the difference between transponders and satellites. During the past two years ISRO has not announced any major project and the organisation will soon come to a grinding halt,” Nair told IANS.
“Ever since Radhakrishnan has taken over as ISRO chief, the organisation’s total budgetary expenditure has come down to around 50 percent of the allocation. On the other hand, during my period ISRO nearly made full utilisation of the budgetary allocation. ISRO has now gone to the dogs,” he declared.
Accusing Radhakrishnan for the decision on the order blacklisting order, Nair said the former was a member of Antrix board with the deal with Devas was signed.
“Radhakrishnan did not say anything at that point of time and but now says that the deal was wrong. He has misled the government on Antrix-Devas deal and killed it.”
The former ISRO chief said the Suresh committee appointed by Radhakrishnan had given a clean chit for the deal. In his view, the CAG had gone wrong in its estimation of the probable loss of revenue in the Antrix-Devas deal.
“The satellite spectrum cannot be equated with the land based spectrum as the former usage is restricted. The CAG has extrapolated the land based spectrum usage to space based one.”
Radhakrishnan was not available for comment. The blacklisting order has taken ISRO officials by surprise. “It is unfortunate. The blacklisting not befitting the stature of the people concerned,” an ISRO scientist told IANS.