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Isro’s former chief, Nair to face trial for Devas deal

CBI said G Madhavan Nair provided wrong information about the deal to the then Cabinet

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Aug 12 2016 11:23AM | Updated Date: Aug 12 2016 3:46PM

Isro’s former chief, Nair to face trial for Devas deal

The CBI filed a chargesheet against space scientist and Isro’s ex-chairman G Madhavan Nair, former executive director of Antrix Corporation R Sridhara Murthi and a US-based company along with other officials in the Antrix-Devas deal.


The investigation agency claimed that the contract for leasing S-band spectrum was given by the officials, to an ineligible company with ill intentions and without informing the government, which led to a loss of Rs 578 crore.


The development comes after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal at The Hague ruled against India and said it was liable to pay compensation to foreign investors in Devas Multimedia.


The CBI said Nair, a Padma Vibhushan, kept the then Manmohan Singh Cabinet in the dark and provided wrong information about the deal. The government had cancelled the deal in 2011 after a CAG report questioned it.


The agency had questioned him earlier this year over his conflict of interest in the deal. Nair was chairman of Antrix's governing council and secretary, department of space, when the deal was finalized. He was immediately barred from holding any government post for his alleged role in the deal.


Devas had entered into an agreement with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), in 2005 to lease almost the entire transponder space on two of its satellites, and nearly half of the S-band spectrum under its control. 


In an interview with TOI in March 2015, Nair had said the Antrix-Devas deal came under the scanner because there was a panicky reaction from the PMO (which was headed by Manmohan Singh) since 2G spectrum scam involving A Raja dented the government's image at that time.