Narasimha non-committal on reconsidering resignation

Narasimha non-committal on reconsidering resignation

Top aerospace scientist Roddam Narasimha today remained non-committal on Government's request to reconsider his decision to quit the Space Commission.

Asked if he would reconsider his decision to resign as Space Commission member, a position he held for about 20 years, Narasimha chose not to give a direct answer.
"I have nothing to say beyond that statement. I don't want to talk about it. I submitted that letter. We will see what happens. I have nothing more to say", he told PTI here.

Narasimha, who had probed the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, quit upset over the action against former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and others in connection with the deal.

Asked about the resignation, Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said yesterday: "Prof. Narasimha is a very renowned scientist. We hold him in very high esteem. I request Prof. Narasimha to reconsider his decision".

Narasimha has requested the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to whom he sent the resignation, to permit him to relinquish his membership of the Space Commission.

Narasimha said there were two reasons for his request. First, he considered that the actions taken recently against certain ISRO scientists in connection with the Antrix-Devas Agreement could demoralise the ISRO scientific community, and adversely affect its ability to take the kind of technological initiatives – not always without risk – that are the hallmark of an innovative organisation.

"Most ISRO scientists have committed their professional lives to the pursuit of the extraordinary technological challenges posed by a national space programme. Their achievements have brought great credit to the country, and their occasional failures have served only to strengthen their resolve to pursue even more ambitious goals", he said.

"This is not to say that there have been no lapses", Narasimha said. These have been identified in detail in the report of Chaturvedi and himself. The report found no evidence of short-charging on the spectrum, but recommended various reforms that were now needed in our opinion to ensure that the identified lapses would not recur in future", he said.

"These reforms have also included some concerning the Space Commission. As one who has been privileged to be a member of the Commission for about two decades, it has seemed most appropriate to me that the proposed reforms, and such others as may be considered necessary, are carried out best by a commission of which I am no longer a member", he said. "This is the second reason for my request to the Prime Minister regarding my membership of the Commission".

"ISRO is a great national asset, and my appeal to everybody is to ensure that any action taken should be such as to strengthen the community of the thousands of engineers who make our admired achievements in space possible", he added.

B K Chaturvedi and Narasimha reviewed the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the Antrix-Devas agreement and their report said concerns of cheap selling of spectrum to Devas have no basis whatsoever.

But a five-member high-level team, chaired by Pratyush Sinha, which examined the deal and identified acts of omission and commission by government officials, found "...not only serious administrative and procedural lapses but also suggestion of collusive behaviour on the part of certain individuals....".

The Sinha panel concluded that the four former ISRO scientists, including Nair, were responsible for various acts of commissions.