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India police to prosecute ISRO bosses

August 22, 2017

By Chris Forrester

The massive scandal involving the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), its commercial subsidiary Antrix, and Devas Multimedia, the independent company which held certain capacity rights on ISRO satellites, is coming to an end.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, which had already named certain key officials alleged to be involved, has been given permission to prosecute other individuals. They include Veena Rao, an employee of India’s Dept. of Space and G Madhavan Nair, the former ISRO chairman.

The court case will start on September 1st.

The case is a huge embarrassment for India and its space operations. 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.

Now, having lost the financial side of the case, India’s criminal authorities are seeking punishments to match the embarrassment caused by its senior officials.

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.

The criminal case is now focusing on alleging the accused had committed offences under various laws pertaining to cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly being party to a criminal conspiracy with an intent to cause undue gain to themselves or others by abusing their official position.

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