Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ISRO’s new `satellite’ called `scam band’

By R Shankar, India Syndicate, 08/02/2011
India’s premier space organisation is in the eye of a storm over allocation of S band to a pvt company

Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organisation, that is busy planning to send another satellite to the moon and take a shot at Mars, is now caught in an orbit of a scam that is of astronomical proposition.

In a season that has made scams highly infectious, the `virus' of scandals orbiting huge chunks of money has touched India's premier research organisation, once considered to be sanitised from the influence of politics or purse.

The latest scam involves ISRO's deal with a Bangalore-based company called Devas Multimedia Private Ltd. This company got the scarce S-band spectrum for 20 years for a pittance. The company, not surprisingly, is owned by M G Chandrasekhar, a former scientific secretary at ISRO. Deutsche Telekom is a minority equity stakeholder.

ISRO managed to hide the agreement entered into by the space agency's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd and Devas for six long years until the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) smelt a rat and called for the files. The media then scooped it out into public space, forcing ISRO and the Prime Minister's Office scramble for an explanation.

The estimated loss, according to The Hindu which exposed the deal, is a whopping Rs 2 lakh crore!! By comparison, the presumptive loss incurred in the allocation of 2G spectrum by the DoT, as estimated by the CAG, is Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
ISRO’s new `satellite’ called `scam band’

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