ISRO boss appears in court

India’s former chairman of its Space Research Organisation (ISRO), G. Madhavan Nair appeared in court on September 16th in connection with the ISRO-owned Antrix and corruption allegations.

Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal also directed that Nair, plus Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then Director in ISRO, K R Sridhar Murthy, the then Executive Director of Antrix, former Additional Secretary in the Department of Space (DoS) Veena S Rao and others to appear before his court on December 23rd, reported Press Trust of India.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have also laid charges against the former MD of US-based Forge Advisors and Devas CEO Ramachandra Vishwanathan for criminal conspiracy along with three other former directors of the firm.

All four have been accused of conspiracy to cause undue gains by abusing their official position and causing loss to Antrix Corp and ISRO.

The charges relate to a massive scandal involving the ISRO, its commercial subsidiary Antrix, and Devas Multimedia, the independent company which held certain capacity rights on ISRO satellites. Almost exactly two years ago an international arbitration court at The Hague awarded about $672 million to Devas as compensation and damages in its claim against ISRO/Antrix. The conditions of the Arbitration saw a further penalty of 18 percent annual interest accruing on the award.

The deal saw ISRO/Antrix allocate 70 MHz of S-band capacity to Devas on its GSAT-6 and GSAT-7 satellites. The scandal first came to light in 2011 when allegations were made of favouritism, non-compliance, financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest.

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