Kasturirangan and U.R. Rao give their views after guarded silence

Even as the controversy over the Antrix-Devas deal turns into a personal clash between the Indian Space Research Organisation's former chief, G. Madhavan Nair, and its current chairman, K Radhakrishnan, veteran space scientists have expressed the hope that there will be a quick closure to the debate.

So far cautiously silent on the matter, two former ISRO chairmen, K. Kasturirangan and U.R. Rao, spoke to reporters on Wednesday about their views on the fallout of the deal, the government order banning four space scientists (including Mr. Nair) from government posts, and the high-level committee reports upon which the order was based.

Mr. Rao told The Hindu that he could not understand why there were two probes on the deal. “I have been part of several investigation committees. I cannot recall two probes being ordered for the same issue. Why have multiple probes and harass people?”

He said he was pleased that Mr. Radhakrishnan had asked for the reports to be made public. It was “unfair” that the contents of the reports were withheld from the four scientists they deal with. “You cannot pass an order without informing the people in question.”

Mr. Rao said the committees should have had experts on satellite communication. “They are, after all, looking at a highly technical subject.”

Mr. Kasturirangan hoped for “an amicable end” to the controversy. “I hope that this gets defused as early as possible so that we are back on track.”

Amidst the raging debate, Mr. Nair flew on Tuesday to Oman for a brief visit. According to sources, he is visiting the country on private visit and will interact with students at a school. He returns to Bangalore on Saturday.

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