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Top scientist quits space panel over Devas action

Top scientist quits space panel over Devas action

Roddam Narasimha was part of the panel that found no fault with procedure of the Antrix-Devas deal.

Apparently upset over the treatment meted out to four top space scientists,including former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair,by the government,Roddam Narasimha — one of the country’s most well-known scientists — has resigned as member of the Space Commission.

Narasimha,a celebrated aerospace scientist,was part of the two-member B K Chaturvedi committee that had probed the ill-fated 2005 agreement between ISRO and Devas Multimedia,a Bangalore-based private company,for the lease of a part of India’s S-band spectrum. That committee,while bringing out some shortcomings and “gaps” in the agreement,had categorically stated that it was “difficult to find fault with the procedure” that was followed.

However,the government relied on the findings of another committee,headed by former CVC (central vigilance commissioner) Pratyush Sinha,to blacklist Nair and three other scientists for their role in signing this agreement. The Sinha committee had come to the conclusion that these scientists were involved in acts of “omission and commission”. Nair and others,all retired scientists,have been barred from occupying any government position in future.

Sources said Narasimha submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister,who holds the overall charge of the Department of Space. The Space Commission is the highest decision-making body on matters related to space and has representation from the Prime Minister’s Office as well. Narasimha had been a member of the Space Commission for over two decades now.


V Narayansamy,Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office,requested Narasimha to reconsider his decision to quit.

Reacting to Narasimha’s resignation,Madhavan Nair called it “highly unfortunate” and said it would further demoralise the scientific community.

“He is a very knowledgeable person on space. His decision to quit shows how insensitive the Department of Space has become. He was a big asset to the Space Commission,” Nair told The Indian Express.

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