Former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair has been chargesheeted for causing a loss of Rs 578 crore to the government in a deal between private multi-media company Devas and Antrix, the space agency’s commercial arm. The charge sheet was filed against many other ISRO officials.
Nair on Thursday said that there was nothing wrong in the deal on Thursday. “There was nothing wrong in the deal and I do not know how the chargesheet has come. There was vested interest behind this and the previous ISRO chairman K.Radhakrishnan had given wrong statements,” said Nair.
The chargesheet was filed before Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar, and the court has fixed August 18 for further hearing.
“Then Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), then Additional Secretary, Department of Space, then Director, SCPO, ISRO, then Executive Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, then Managing Director of a USA-based company, and then CEO and three former directors of Bangalore-based Devas Multi-media were chargesheeted as accused in the case,” the CBI said in a press statement.
The CBI accused them of having committed offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to cheating and certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly being party to a criminal conspiracy with an intent to cause undue gain to themselves or others by abusing their official positions and causing loss to Antrix Corporation and ISRO.
It was alleged that during the period from 2004 to 2011 then Executive Director of Antrix Corporation in criminal conspiracy with both advisors of a USA-based company and others gave rights for delivery of video, multi-media and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones via S-Band through GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A Satellites and terrestrial systems in India, to ineligible company based in Bangalore in violation of the guidelines pertaining to leasing of INSAT capacity.
An alleged loss of Rs. 578 crore (approx) was caused to the government exchequer.
The CBI added that investigation is continuing regarding issues of demand of S-Band frequencies by other users, including Ministry of Defence for strategic purpose and Department of Telecommunication, DVB-SH Technology developed by ETSI and the affairs of the USA-based company, Foreign Direct Investment received and funds transferred from the accounts of the Bangalore-based private company into the foreign accounts and offences under criminal breach of trust by public servants.
A case was registered against the accused on March 16, 2015, and then Executive Director of Antrix K.R. Sridhara Murthi, former Managing Director of US-based Forge Advisors and CEO of Devas Ramachandra Vishwanathan and the then Director of Devas M.G Chandrasekhar.
The Antrix-Devas deal saw an early exit of Nair as ISRO chairman since he was the head of Antrix governing council when the deal was finalised in January 2005.