Former ISRO chief quits IIT Patna board

Former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), G Madhavan Nair, who has been barred from holding any government post for his alleged role in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, stepped down as chairman of Indian Institute of Technology, Patna.

The government barred Nair and three other senior space scientists from all government work for their alleged role in the deal between Antrix Corporation, a private limited company owned by the Indian government, and Devas Multimedia, a private Indian firm (See: Antrix scam: former ISRO chief, 3 others barred from govenment jobs).

In February 2011, the government had scrapped a controversial deal between Antrix and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for the lease of S-band spectrum by Antrix for digital multi-media services, following allegations of lapses on the part of the company and its parent, ISRO.

The deal surfaced at a time when the government was battling the 2G scam and was not keen on taking on any further rows.

Two committees were appointed to probe the alleged lapse on the part of ISRO. One was headed by B K Chaturvedi, a former cabinet secretary, and the other by Pratyush Sinha, a former Central Vigilance Commissioner.

Questions are now being asked about the role of K Radhakrishnan, the present ISRO chief, who was also on the board of Antrix in 2007-08, when the deal was signed. Radhakrishnan was also in one of the committees that probed charges of procedural lapses in the deal.

Nair was appointed chairman of the board of governors of IIT Patna, one of the eight new institutes being set up across the country.  ''I came here to say goodbye,'' Nair told reporters. ''Though I have not got a copy of the government order, I am voluntarily stepping down. This college is very close to my heart and it's my moral responsibility to give them the message. I have nothing to do with the government. It has hurt me very badly.''