Antrix-Devas deal: ISRO 'no' to share letters by its ex chief

Antrix-Devas deal: ISRO 'no' to share letters by its ex chief

ISRO has declined to give details of its correspondence with  former space agency chief G Madhavan Nair on the report of a high-level probe into the Antrix-Devas deal on the basis of which he and three others were barred by government from any re-employment.

ISRO claimed that the matter was still being probed.

The details sought are exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(h) of RTI Act as the investigation related to the matter is in progress and providing information at this juncture would impede the ongoing processes, ISRO said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

The Section bars disclosure of "information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders".

ISRO was asked to give copies of correspondence received by its former and present scientists or officials on reports of High Level Team (HLT) and High Powered Review Committee (HPRC) which went into the deal and action taken on the basis of those representations.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on May 31, last year constituted a five-member HLT under the chairmanship of former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, to examine various aspects of the controversial agreement between Antrix Pvt Ltd and Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd.

The HLT was asked to examine the report of the two-member HPRC constituted by the Prime Minister's Office on February 10, 2011.

Based on the HLT report, submitted to the PMO on September 2 last year, the government had barred Nair and three eminent space scientists from any re-employment for their alleged role in the deal.

Nair had hit back at the government for taking action "in violation of principles of natural justice and tarnishing the image of reputed people like him."

Antrix had signed a deal with Devas in January 2005 to provide it crucial S-Band space segment for running digital multimedia service by leasing 90 per cent transponders on two satellites -- GSAT—6 and GSAT—6A.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had annulled the Antrix-Devas deal in February last year contending that it was not in the country's strategic interest.

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