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ISRO report indicts Nair, 3 other scientists

BANGALORE: A committee set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indicted former ISRO chief G. Madhavan Nair and three other senior scientists who were barred from holding any government posts.

The report prepared by a committee headed by Pratyush Sinha, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, said the Antrix-Devas deal lacked transparency and recommended that action needed to be taken against Nair, A. Bhaskaranarayana, K. R. Sridhara Murthi and K. N. Shankara all of whom have retired.

Meanwhile, Nair on Sunday slammed the twin probe reports on the multi-billion dollar Antrix-Devas spectrum deal, saying they were "one-sided and without all facts".

"Though I am yet to go through both the reports in detail, I can categorically say they are one-sided and not based on all facts. Let me first get the reports and study them. Then only I will be able to rebut and defend my position," Nair said.

Expressing surprise at the odd timing (late Saturday) of releasing the probe reports on the official websites of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the space department, Nair said a quick look at the salient points and conclusions arrived at clearly shows that the inquiry was not based on factual information and many things have been considered out of context.

"For instance, issues related to launch of satellites, leasing of transponders and spectrum pricing mechanism have not been dealt as per the rules and regulations," Nair said.

The probe reports have held Nair and three other space scientists responsible for serious irregularities and procedural lapses in signing the $300-million contract in 2005 to allot 70MHz of the scarce S-band spectrum (radio waves) to the Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia Services Ltd for digital services using ISRO’s transponders.

The other three scientists are former Scientific Secretary A. Bhaskarnarayana, ISRO’s former Satellite Centre Director K.N. Shankara and former Antrix Corporation Executive Director K.R. Sridharamurthi.

The Rs1,000-crore Antrix is the commercial arm of the space agency, headquartered in this tech hub with centres across the country.

Though the first report of the two-member probe committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi and Space Commission member Roddam Narasimha was uploaded in full, the report of the five-member probe panel set up to study the former’s report, has been partially released, with only the conclusions.

The Prime Minister, who is also in charge of the space department, had set up the Chatruvedi committee in February 2011 and the five-member panel in May 2011 under the chairmanship of Pratyush Sinha, former Chairman of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), to study the former’s recommendations to fix responsibility for the alleged violation of norms.

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

On the recommendation of the Sinha committee, Nair said the panel had made the recommendations with little knowledge of space business.

“A committee headed by a former IPS (Indian Police Service) officer 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,” Nair retorted.

Clarifying that the deal was not to solely benefit 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.

“When the deal was signed (in 2005), we were still under the embargo of the US and other Western nations for the Pokhran-II nuclear test in May 1999. Only Devas came forward to provide a host of digital multimedia services using space-based radio waves. The government was also in favour of using space assets for the benefit of the country,” Nair observed. — Agencies




Yuvraj diagnosed with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy in US

NEW DELHI: Yuvraj Singh, who played a stellar role in India's ODI World Cup triumph last year, has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy in the US.

The 30-year-old left-hander has been in US since last month being treated for what was earlier claimed to be a tumour in the lungs by his family. But it has now been diagnosed as malignant and Yuvraj is currently undergoing chemotherapy in the Cancer Research Institute in Boston.

His physiotherapist Dr Jatin Chaudhary, however, assured that the ailment was curable and the batsman would be fit to resume cricket in May. His mother Shabnam Singh could not be reached while his former cricketer father Yograj refused comments on the matter.

"It is a rare tumour and is cancerous, but it has been detected in stage one itself. Doctors had to decide whether to continue medication or go for chemotherapy but since parts of the tumour are just above the artery of his heart, there was a danger that while running it could burst. But it is 100 per cent curable," Chaudhary said.

"The doctors decided that he would have to undergo chemotherapy and he travelled to the US on January 26. At the end of March, he would undergo a CT scan and should recover by then.

After that it is just some rehabilitation in April before he is fit to be back on the field in May," he added.

Yuvraj, who was Player of the Tournament in the World Cup last year with 362 runs, 15 wickets and four Man-of-the-Match awards, has also been taking ayurvedic medicines to battle the disease. — PTI



Australia crush India by 65 runs

MELBOURNE: Australia beat India by 65 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday in the rain-shortened first one-day international of the triangular series with Sri Lanka. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Australia 216-5 (M. Wade 67, D. Hussey 61 not out, V. Kumar 3-21); India 151 all out (C. McKay 4-20) — Reuters





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