Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) came under scrutiny from the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) and two Centrally-appointed committees regarding the controversial Antrix-Devas spectrum deal, the space agency fielded queries from a sceptical public, under the Right to Information Act, as per the space agency's annual report.
ISRO received and responded to nearly 1,000 RTI applications between 2010 and 2012, and according to sources within the space agency, a significant number of them sought details on the 2005 spectrum deal between ISRO's commercial wing Antrix and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia Private Limited.
Number of applications
In 2011-12, ISRO received its highest-ever number of RTI applications at 518, followed by 426 in 2010-11, both a big spike from the previous year (2008-9), when 186 applications were filed at ISRO.
Not only RTI activists, but ISRO staff and individuals and organisations indicted on the deal too applied for information.
Representatives of Devas and ISRO's former chief, G. Madhavan Nair, who had been barred from holding government posts earlier this year, were among the applicants.
In January, the Department of Space barred Mr. Nair and three senior space scientists from holding government posts, following the findings of two high-power teams appointed by the Prime Minister's Office to probe the deal.
The two reports pointed to several irregularities in the contract, corroborated in the CAG report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
Of the 944 appeals filed at ISRO between 2010 and 2012, as many as 221 applicants sought more clarity from the First Appellate Authority (within the Department of Space) and the Second Appellate Authority (Central Information Commission).