Antrix fallout: Govt blacklists Madhavan Nair, 3 others

Madhumathi D.S. Thomas K. Thomas Bangalore/New Delhi | Updated on February 06, 2012


'Antariksh Bhavan', Department of Space and ISRO HQ, in Bangalore. (file photo)   -  The Hindu

Less than a year after the ISRO Antrix-Devas S-band spectrum scam was first reported by this newspaper, the first action has been taken by the Government.

For the first time in the national space agency's annals, its former head who presided over India's lunar trip and was hailed as the man with the golden touch for 25 successful missions will be persona non-grata there. He ceases to have an office in his former organisation. Or in any Government position for that matter.

A Department of Space order dated January 13 has barred any Government position for Dr G. Madhavan Nair, who once chaired the elite Space Commission, advised the Prime Minister as Secretary, Department of Space, and was Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation between 2003 and 2009.

It also barred any public positions for three former top ISRO technocrats — Dr A. Bhaskaranarayana, who wore many hats at the same time as Scientific Secretary, Director, Satellite Communications and Director, INSAT Coordination Committee, until he quit hastily in December 2009; Dr K.R. Sridhara Murthi, Antrix Managing Director until September 2010 and Scientific Secretary before that; and Dr K.N. Shankara, former Director of ISRO Satellite Centre.

ISRO unofficially confirmed the development. Neither the present Chairman, Dr K. Radhakrishnan, nor Dr Madhavan Nair was available for comment.


The order is a fallout of two high-level probes initiated last year by the Prime Minister's Office into the agreement ISRO's arm Antrix signed in January 2005 during Dr Nair's tenure with start-up company Devas Multimedia Ltd. ISRO/Antrix was to build two satellites for Devas and also allocated precious S-band spectrum to operate the satellites GSat 6 and 6A.

The PMO annulled the controversial agreement on February 17 last year, 10 days after Business Line and The Hindu reported it. The CAG's preliminary estimate said it would have cost the nation over Rs 2 lakh crore.

Dr Nair was also Chairman of Antrix under the then set-up; Antrix was separated in 2011 with its own CMD as part of the post-scam reform.

Published on January 25, 2012

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