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Antrix-Devas deal: CBI files chargesheet against former ISRO chief

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 11 August 2016, 17:44 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 11 August, filed a chargesheet against former ISRO chief, G Madhavan Nair and other officials in a case registered by the agency to probe the alleged Rs 578-crore "wrongful" gain to Devas - a private multi-media company - by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.

Nair was quizzed by CBI back in May and was asked about the details of the contract signed between Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia Private Limited on 28 January, 2005, during his tenure as chairman of ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space.

The Antrix-Devas deal had seen the early exit of Nair as ISRO Chairman as he was the Chairman of the Governing Council of Antrix when the deal was finalised.

CBI had registered a case last year and conducted searches at the premises of Devas Limited as well as the then Executive Director of Antrix, KR Sridhara Murthi, in Bengaluru.

An FIR was lodged against Murthi, MG Chandrasekhar and R Vishwanathan of Forge Advisors, Devas Multi-media Private Limited and unnamed officials of Antrix, ISRO and Department of Space in a designated court in Bengaluru.

The CBI had alleged that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy and government officials abused their position as they favoured Devas by giving them rights for delivery of videos, multimedia and information services to mobile phones using S-Band through GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A satellites and terrestrial systems in India.

The agency further claimed that the accused officials "thus caused wrongful gain of Rs 578 crore" to the private firm and its owners.

CBI asserted that a deal between Antrix and Devas was fixed in principle in January 2005 for lease of S-Band transponders. However, the then Executive Director of Antrix signed it on behalf of Antrix six months later only after ensuring that Chandrashekhar and Vishwanathan were majority stakeholders in Devas multi-media. They continued in this position till 2008-09.

--With PTI inputs

First published: 11 August 2016, 17:44 IST