CBI examines former ISRO chief in graft case

New Delhi,DEVESH K. PANDEY:The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday examined G. Madhavan Nair, former Secretary to the Department of Space and Chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and governing body of Antrix Corporation Ltd., in connection with the Antrix-Devas Multimedia deal case.

G. Madhavan Nair, former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation. File photo

“Mr. Nair was examined in connection with the allegations of corruption in the deal,” a CBI official said.

Business Line and The Hindu had broken the preliminary CAG findings in the 2005 Antrix-Devas agreement on February 7, 2011.

Thereafter, the government cancelled the agreement under which Antrix, ISRO’s marketing arm, was to provide 70 MHz of S-band spectrum to Devas.

On March 16 last year, the CBI registered a case against the Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia, the then Antrix executive director, R. Sridhara Murthi, R. Vishwanathan and M.G. Chandrasekhar (a former ISRO scientist) of Forge Advisors LLC (U.S.) and unknown officials of the Department of Space, ISRO and Antrix. It accused them of cheating, conspiracy and corruption, between 2004 and 2011, for allegedly favouring an ineligible company, which led to a wrongful gain of Rs.578 crore to Devas Multimedia.

The CBI alleged that Mr. Murthi favoured Devas Multimedia by giving it the rights for delivery of video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones

The company had allegedly submitted false information about its capability to deliver these services.

According to the agency, the wrongful gain — of which Mr. Vishwanathan and Mr. Chandrasekhar were also alleged beneficiaries — was made through investors from the U.S., Singapore, Mauritius and other countries.

2005 Antrix-Devas agreement: The Business Line-The Hindu expose

February 7, 2011:

CAG goes after another spectrum deal

The Antrix-Devas Multimedia agreement

Spectrum with government agencies should be monitored for efficient usage: TRAI

What’s the big deal about S-band?

What is Devas Multimedia?

Response from Devas

ISRO spectrum deal under review: Centre

BJP, Left want deal probed

Note for cancellation held up with ISRO

Trial spectrum given to Devas to be withdrawn soon: DoT

February 8, 2011:

What the PMO claims and what the facts are

February 11, 2011:

ISRO background note on agreement between Antrix and Devas

February 12, 2011:

Devas CEO’s letter dated February 11, 2011 to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

February 17, 2011:

Antrix-Devas deal annulled