Bangalore/Chennai: A five-member team probing the Antrix-Devas deal has indicted former ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair and three other scientists for the controversial contract that resulted in an estimated loss of Rs.2 lakh crore, while another panel has disputed the CAG's estimation of the loss amount.

The scientists on Sunday slammed the team for its one-sided report. The indicted scientists also rapped the Indian space agency for not putting all the facts in the pubic domain.

The probe team, chaired by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha, concluded that there have been serious lapses of judgement on the part of various officials, and in some cases, actions verged on the point of breach of public trust in the deal between the Indian space agency's commercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia.

However, a two-member High Powered Review Committee has contested the loss projection by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and has also has ruled out cheap selling of spectrum to Devas.

Nair termed the report as 'one sided'.

“I can categorically say that the Sinha team report is one-sided and not based on all facts. Let me first get its report and study. Then I will be able to rebut it to defend my position,” Nair, during whose tenure the USD 300 million Devas deal was signed in 2005 said in Bangalore.

The other indicted Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are: A. Bhaskaranarayana, former scientific secretary at ISRO, K.R. Sridharamurthi, former Executive Director of Antrix, and K.N. Shankara, former Director of the ISRO satellite centre.

As per the deal, Antrix was to provide 70 MHz S-Band spectrum to Devas, by leasing out transponders of two satellites to be built mainly for Devas.

The CAG estimated the loss to the exchequer was to the tune of Rs.2 lakh crore. The centre later scrapped the controversial deal.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan had announced that the reports of two committees that looked into the controversial deal would be made public.

Late on Saturday, ISRO uploaded on its website the conclusions and recommendations of both the panels.

Expressing surprise at the odd timing of the reports' release, Nair said a quick reading of its conclusions and recommendations shows that its report was not based on facts or data, and also inconsistent with the report of the review panel, headed by former Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi and Space Commission member Roddam Narasimha.

“Anyone can find out how the Sinha report is inconsistent and at variance with the Chaturvedi panel report. For instance, issues related to launch of satellites, leasing of transponders and spectrum pricing mechanism have not been addressed as per rules and regulations governing contracts,” said an upset Nair.

Echoing Nair, Bhaskarnarayana said the Chaturvedi panel report vindicated their stand.

“We have been saying that scarce national resource was not given away to any private party at throwaway prices. That is what the Chaturvedi report concluded,” Bhaskaranarayana said.

Meanwhile, Sridharmurthi sought the entire policy, the Devas agreement and the entire procedure adopted to be made public for the truth come out.

On the recommendation of the Sinha report for action against him and the three others, Nair said, “A committee, headed by a former IPS officer (Sinha), does not understand space business. Its conclusions are distorted. Its report too should have been released in full to ascertain the basis of its recommendations for action against us.”

Clarifying that the deal was not to solely benefit or profit Devas, Nair said the contract was to ensure a decent return to the government even at the risk of using new technology at a time when India was still under the sanctions regime of the US and other western nations for the Pokhran-II nuclear test.

The Prime Minister had set up the Chatruvedi committee Feb 10, 2011 and the Sinha panel May 31, 2011 to study the former's report and fix responsibility.

ISRO uploaded on its website most of the Chaturvedi report, while releasing only the conclusions and recommendations of the Sinha team probe.

On the basis of the Sinha team's recommendations, the government Jan 13 debarred the four tainted scientists from holding any government post or being on any official committees.

(Agencies)