ISRO row not affected space programmes, says its Chief

ISRO row not affected space programmes, says its Chief

ISRO Chief K Radhakrishnan today rejected suggestions that the row with his predecessor G Madhavan Nair and his indictment over the Antrix-Devas deal has dented its image and cast a shadow on the country's space programme.

Seeking to put the two-week-old controversy and its fall-out firmly behind, Radhakrishnan said the focus now is on missions and indicated that successful space ventures would redeem its pride.

"I don't think so," he said when asked whether ISRO's image has taken a beating and the space programme being overshadowed after the raging ISRO row.

"That's the feeling I get from (various) ISRO centres (in the country)", Radhakrishnan, Chairman of ISRO and Secretary in the Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission, told PTI here.

"People will understand what's going on", added Radhakrishnan, who had been accused by former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair of being behind the move to blacklist him and three other ex-ISRO scientists in connection with the controversial Antrix-Devas deal which has sisnce been scrapped.

For ISRO, what matters is a mission. "If you do a good job, everybody is with you", he said, indicating that successful space ventures would put ISRO back into positive limelight.

"As far as ISRO is concerned, I don't see any problems", Radhakrishnan said, adding, ISRO is now working on the launch of radar imaging satellite in the last week of March, as well as the ground-test of cryogenic engine.

Asked if the ISRO row is a closed chapter, he said: "Yes, I think from my head it has gone...reports are there...what has been done....everything is there". "I want to worry about ISRO now", he said.

Nair meanwhile is pinning hopes on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to revoke the order banning him and three others from government jobs despite Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy ruling out its review, as he reiterated there is "no issue" vis-a-vis the Antrix-Devas deal.

Speaking to PTI here, Nair said he hasn't heard from the Prime Minister. "I hope he will consider and take an appropriate decision", he said.

Nair wrote to the Prime Minister more than two weeks ago, appealing for quashing the order which he said was issued without enquiry and one aimed at tarnishing the image of the scientists.

Nair and three other ex-ISRO scientists were blacklisted based on two official reports on the controversial deal. He has applied under RTI seeking copies of the order banning them as well the reports but "they are taking the usual time to reply. So I will have to allow that one month to get through to get all the details".

Asked if would appreciate it if the Prime Minister could intervene in the meanwhile, Nair said: "Yes, naturally". On the statement of B K Chaturvedi, who probed the deal (with Roddam Narasimha) that there were no malafide intentions on the part of scientists and violation of norms and procedures were not malicious or deliberate, Nair said he (Chaturvedi committee) has "brought out the factual situation".

"I have been telling the same for long. There is no issue (no wrongdoing), that's the message he has conveyed", Nair said, reiterating that there was "no issue at all" vis-a-vis the scrapped agreement with Devas.

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