Nair unenthusiastic to Law Ministry offer

Thiruvananthapuram: Former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair today took a dim view of the Law Ministry`s directive to the Department of Space to give a chance to him and three other banned scientists to explain their stand on the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, saying it was "like seeking explanation from a person after being hanged."

The Law Ministry`s view based on Attorney General`s input that the principle of natural justice should be followed in the case "clearly implied that natural justice has not been followed so far", Nair told a meet-the-press programme here.

"As far as a scientist is concerned, his reputation is more important than anything else," said Nair, who along with three other scientists have been barred from holding government posts for their role in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal.

Asserting that government had done injustice to them, he said it handled the issue in an "insensitive" manner as if "the scientists have done something seriously wrong."

Nair said it was difficult to take as mere coincidence that "this sort of scams and controversies" surfaced whenever India made milestone achievements in the space programme.

"The ISRO-Spy case of 1990s erupted when the country successfully developed PSLV. Similarly, now we have successfully launched our Moon mission Chandrayan and is on the threshold of GSLV."

Asked if the present scam was the result of a deep-rooted conspiracy, he said nothing could be ruled out. On the cancellation of Antrix-Devas deal, he said there could have been pressures from the ground level operators to scrap the agreement.

Nair said the reply received from the Department of Space to the information sought by him under the RTI Act asking for the reasons for blacklisting him and three other scientists, was discouraging and there was no answer for many questions holding that the information could not be provided.

The response was that all information was available on the website while keeping mum on vital questions, he said.

Asked if he would contemplate legal action since he felt that he had been denied justice, he said he would decide only after due thought and consulting legal experts.

Seeking a fresh probe into the S-band affair and the reasons that led to the cancellation of the Antrix-Devas deal, he said, "I am sure that I will be cleared if such a probe is held."

"I have not done anything wrong in this contract or in any other contracts," he said.

Nair said "the so-called scam" has demoralised the scientific community in the country. "The situation has come to such a level that scientists are not ready to take risks and are afraid to even sign files."

On his bitter attacks against present ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, whom he had blamed for the punitive action, Nair said, "I don`t want to drag the name of any person, though I might have made some emotional remarks earlier."

However, he expressed some reservations over the performance of the space agency after he left two years ago.

He said a set of projects proposed by him before he left ISRO had not been followed up. These include the human flight programme and recovery of reusable launch programme.