Antrix-Devas deal: CBI files chargesheet against former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair
The CBI on Thursday filed a chargesheet in the Antrix-Devas deal case naming ex-ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair and other senior officials.
They have been accused of facilitating wrongful gain of Rs 578 crore to private multi-media company Devas, by Antrix - the commercial arm of ISRO.
Besides Nair, former Managing Director of Forge Advisors and CEO of Devas, Ramachandra Vishwanathan; and the then Director of Devas, M G Chandrasekhar, have also been named in the CBI chargesheet.
The deal between Antrix and Devas was fixed in principle in January 2005. However, the then Executive Director of Antrix signed it six months later, only after a US company represented by Chandrashekhar and Vishwanathan became majority stakeholders in Devas. The deal was thus in violation of Shankara Committee recommendations, which said execution of any such agreement should be entered into with an Indian company alone.
Meanwhile, Nair said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had given an ‘absolutely’ clean chit as far as the contract is concerned.
“If you look at this contract, it is absolutely same as what we have signed with other parties like Tata Sky, CTV, Sun TV and others, and now all these companies have made commercial gains, for that ISRO is not responsible. ISRO is responsible only for giving them the transponder capacity, on a first-come-first-serve basis. This issue has been reviewed by very high-level committee in the country, the Pratyush Sinha Committee and the Chaturvedi committee,” he said.
“Both these committees could not find anything wrong in this agreement. The Chaturvedi Committee has especially stated that it was the much-needed technology for the country and we should not lose the opportunity. Now, finally the CAG, which has raised the flag that about Rs 2.8 lakh crores lass has been made to the government etc, which they reversed. They say there is no loss to the government, if at all, we would have earned a revenue of nearly Rs. 1,300 crores at the end of that. So, they have given an absolutely clean chit as far as the contract is concerned,” he noted.
The chargesheet comes a month after India lost its arbitration case in an international tribunal over Antrix scrapping a deal with Devas. India is liable to pay compensation which could run into millions of dollars.