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Indian space bosses fall out

India’s satellite and launch community is in turmoil over a massive $672 million legal arbitration award and penalty to VSAT operator Devas Multimedia by an international court last week.

The former head of ISRO (India Space Research Organisation), Madhavan Nair is firmly blaming his successor for not following the correct procedures when ISRO cancelled the binding contract in place with Devas.

“It is very unfortunate that such a huge fine has been imposed on ISRO. But ISRO had not been handling this issue properly right from the start. The chairman of ISRO (Mr K Radhakrishnan) misled the government. The action taken against Devas (cancellation of the agreement) was illegal and this has been held as such by the arbitration panel as well,” Nair told local journalists.

Radhakrishnan retired last year and has not made a comment.

Bangalore-based  Devas leased transponder space on two ISRO-owned satellites in January 2005, but ISRO scrapped the contract in 2011 saying the capacity was needed for India’s strategic reasons.

Nair added that ISRO would have to suffer huge financial losses because of the wrong and arbitrary decisions of Radhakrishnan. “Those who took those arbitrary decisions then should be held responsible for the losses that ISRO would incur,” he said.

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