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A retired IAS officer, who was named last week in a CBI chargesheet in the ISRO-Devas deal, has questioned the CBI probe against her and put out details of her letters to the agency seeking perusal of original documents in the case.
CBI is probing the 2005 deal between ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation and Bengaluru start-up Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd.
Veena Rao, who served as additional secretary in the Department of Space from December 2004 to December 2005, has said in a Facebook post that she was not present at the December 24, 2004, Antrix board meeting where the deal was approved.
She has also stated that a space department note to the space commission approving construction of the satellite GSAT-6 by ISRO, that came before her in 2005, did not specifically mention that the satellite was a part of the Antrix-Devas deal.
Besides Rao, CBI has named former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair, former Antrix executive director K R Sreedharamurthi, former ISRO secretary A Bhaskarnarayana and four officials of Devas Multimedia in its chargesheet, alleging losses of around Rs 578 crore to the exchequer.
The officials have been accused of giving an ineligible company the rights for delivery of multimedia services to mobile receivers using space band spectrum that was to be made available through the GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A satellites built by ISRO. They have been charged under Sections 120 B and 420 of IPC for conspiracy and cheating, and under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
“I took charge as additional secretary, Department of Space, on December 22, 2004, and handed over charge in December 2005. The Antrix-Devas contract was approved at the Antrix board meeting held on December 24, 2004. I was not present at the board meeting, as I had not yet been appointed to the Antrix board…It is difficult to imagine how I could have entered into a conspiracy within two days after my taking charge,”…Rao said in her Facebook post dated August 12. She claimed that the CBI picked on her for being a person “without any political or ideological cover’’.