Picking holes in the high-level team report that indicted him in the Antrix-Devas deal, former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair on Sunday said it had “inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and attacked the Department of Space headed by his successor K Radhakrishnan for releasing only the “convenient portions”.
“The convenient portions they have picked up and put it in public domain. This is totally unfair. When you publish a report, it should be in totality,” Mr. Nair told PTI a day after DoS released two key reports based on which he and three other scientists were barred from holding any government position.
The DoS on Saturday night made public the report of the high power review committee (HPRC) made up of B K Chaturvedi and Prof Roddam Narasimha and (only) conclusions and recommendations of the five—member high—level team (HLT), headed by former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha.
HPRC went into various aspects of the scrapped Antrix-Devas agreement while HLT was set up to examine the deal and identify acts of omission and commission on part of officials.
Mr. Nair said there are a “lot of inconsistencies and inaccuracies” in the HLT report. “This shows that it is not a fair deal meted out to the entire team (of four scientists).
Terming the HLT findings as “very serious allegations,” he wondered why no explanation was sought from the people concerned and a formal inquiry conducted. “This has not happened. This is what is puzzling me,” Nair said.
“If the Department is so much convinced that so many atrocities have been committed, they should order an enquiry and get to the root of the issue,” he said. “This (HLT report) is...I will imagine is the feelings of one or two individuals of the committee rather than the actual findings,” Mr. Nair said in an indirect reference to Mr. Radhakrishnan, who is also part of the five-member HLT.
Mr. Nair was, however, all praise for the HPRC report, saying: “They have stated all facts; it is fair enough... One of the best reports we can think of. Now you read these two reports (HLT and HPRC) together, you see inconsistencies in the whole process and the type of conclusions”.
Seeking to target Mr. Radhakrishnan, he charged: “These play of hide and seek is really a cowardice act on the part of the people who are dealing with these files, especially in the Department of Space“.
Mr. Nair said making public the select portions of the HLT report is aimed at defending the action against the four scientists. “They are trying to justify themselves for whatever wrongdoing they have done. It shows certain amount of cowardice on the part of the Department of Space“.
“They are not coming out with all the details. They should come with analysis (in the HLT report). What’s the secret in that?” he said, adding, the entire thing beginning from the process of negotiation with Devas should be made public.
Noting that four scientists and four administrative people have been indicted in it, he asked: “What happened to the administrative people? Have they taken any action against them?”
Mr. Nair rejected the HLT finding that the deal was inked without consulting the INSAT Coordination Committee (ICC) and that it was a clear violation of the government policy.
He stressed the SATCOM policy of 2000 clearly entrusts the entire responsibility of leasing transponders to private users with the DoS. “They don’t have to consult anybody“.
On another finding of the HLT that agreement with Devas was signed on January 28, 2005 but not disclosed to the Space Commission or in the Cabinet note dated November 27, 2005, he said it had been the established practice with the DoS that it would not report proceedings or conclusions of the Antrix Corporation to the government.
“It’s the total responsibility of the Antrix Board. So, there was no mandatory requirement that we should inform formally on these issues to the government”, he said.
He said the Chaturvedi committee has gone into all details discussing with all the concerned people and he would give “more weightage to that”. “Second committee (Pratysh Sinha team) is based on some paper work”.