Antrix-Devas deal: CBI charges ex-ISRO Chairman, top officials

Friday, Aug 12, 2016,11:04 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | CBI today charged former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair and senior Space Department officials in the Antrix-Devas deal case for causing a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.

The case relates to leasing S-Band, restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicle and mobile phones to a private company Devas Multimedia by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO. It was alleged in the FIR that the lease was given in violation of rules causing undue gain of Rs 578 crore to Devas Multimedia and corresponding loss to the exchequer.

The CBI filed its charge sheet before Special Judge at Patiala House court in which it has named the then Secretary Department of Space, Chairman ISRO and Antrix Corporation G Madhavan Nair, Devas Multimedia and seven others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Besides Nair, others named in the charge sheet as accused include the then Executive Director of Antrix K R Sridhar Murthy, former Managing Director of Forge Advisors and CEO of Devas Ramachandra Vishwanathan, and the then Director of Devas M G Chandrasekhar. Former Additional Secretary in the Department of Space Veena S Rao, the then Director in ISRO A Bhaskar Narayana Rao and two directors of Devas Multimedia D Venugopal and M Umesh have also been named in the charge sheet as accused.

The agency has so far not been able to establish any quid pro quo on behalf of Nair and claims that it has kept open its option to probe the matter further, the sources said. They said the case against Nair and other government officials is abuse of their official position to facilitate the leasing of coveted wavelength to a private company in violation of guidelines.

We will face the issue legally, Nair said reacting to the development. He said there was nothing abnormal in leasing of transponder capacity as it is the primary role of Antrix and Department of Space.

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