New Delhi (JPN/Bureau): Department of Space (DoS), Space Commission and ISRO can easily compete with any opaque government agency.

Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, functions like a private company of the entire space administration in the country. Headed by Space Secretary, the company has been functioning without any set of management framework with senior officials from ISRO and DoS serving as its temporary directors.

Whether or not transparency came about after the appointment of Ratan Tata and Adi Godrej in the board of directors of the company, Tata Sky is one of the companies which curried undue favours from Antrix. The Tata group’s DTH company got spectrum in 2004 in opaque circumstances and at cheap rates.

The very structure of Antrix proves that the details of Devas-Antrix deal were in the knowledge of all high ranking officials of the space company. Perhaps that is why the deal was away from public eye for six years and was annulled immediately after it got exposed.

Had this scam was had not been exposed, Space Secretary and the chairman of Space Commission K Radhakrishna wouldn’t have announced his disassociation with Antrix as also its reorganization.

The various functions of space administration may be under various bodies under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), but most of the decisions of policy, satellite management and marketing of satellite services are taken by an apex body of officials.

Documents in the possession of Dainik Jagran suggest that the government was in the know of the irregularities for years, but failed to take any action in time. There are no defined rules for the administration, financial procedures, investments and appointments at Antrix.

According to official documents, Antrix is the contract manager of ISRO, meaning it manages leasing out transponder services. Surprisingly, there is no proper contract between the two bodies for this purpose. The company hands over its revenues to DoS instead of to the government of India.

Even the division of work between Antrix and DoS is ambiguous. DoS officials serve as directors on Antrix board but also draw a part of their salary from their parent department. CAG had informed the government that issues related to financial workings, special schemes, legal and marketing matters are looked after by officials on ex-officio basis. That is why Devas deal was buried in files till now.