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Ex-ISRO chief Nair writes to PM, wants ban order quashed

Bangalore: Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for quashing an official order barring him and three fellow space scientists from holding government posts and to also probe this issue.

“I have represented to the Prime Minister and asked him to quash the order as well as conduct an inquiry into the matter,” Nair said today, adding the Government should restore his honour.

“I am not interested in any government favours. What I am interested is restoring the honour of myself and my colleagues,” said the ex-Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO).

In the letter to Singh, Nair wanted an inquiry into Government action blacklisting the four scientists in connection with the Antrix-Devas deal in which the private firm was allotted scarce S band spectrum by ISRO allegedly violating rules when he was the space agency’s chairman.

The architect of the maiden unmanned Moon mission Chandrayan-I separately said there should be a “proper procedure” in proceeding with all these matters before an official order is issued.

On the statement of Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy that the government is ready to hear their views, Nair said, “if it is a real move from Government side it is good.

Nair demanded an apology from those responsible for taking punitive action against the four space scientists.

“Certainly. They owe an apology not to me but to the whole country. Somebody has taken law into their hands and they have to apologise before the country”, said Nair when asked if those who issued the order should tender an apology.

Nair said the earlier order was issued as per the direction of the government and “competent authority has taken a decision.”

“Now, if the government is serious about it, it has to direct the so-called competent authority to do the needful (revoke the order)”, he said.

He also said the government should approach him and the three scientists directly rather than seeking their views through media, asserting that truth has to be established as it’s a question of their honour.

“If any time they ask our views, we will give our views. And by this time, he would have known the views of all of us”, Nair told PTI when asked to commenton Narayanasamy’s statement.

“The first order copy debarring us from Government service has not reached us. Now even such a communication, even if it is there, government should communicate to us directly. Why through media?”, he said, adding he has made a Right to Information(RTI) application seeking all details.

The other three scientists who have been barred from holding any government job were former scientific secretary A Bhaskarnarayana, ISRO’s former satellite centre director K N Shankara and former Antrix Corporation executive director K R Sridharamurthi.

The scientific community has rallied behind Nair and the three scientists with Prof C N R Rao, head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, saying they had been “thrown out like garbage.”

“We are citizens of India, residing in India, we have cell (mobile phone) connection and email connection, we have postal address and every thing is there”, Nair said.

“Actually, we have not hijacked an aeroplane or something so that between hijackers and the agency there will be dialogue and what not”, he added.

He said, “Truth has to be established. Truth will remain truth always. So, the government should try to collect details from the concerned people and try to establish the truth”.

Asked if the “reconciliation tone” of the government was because of strong reaction against the order by the scientific community, he said it’s quite possible.

“This is a question of honour of senior-most scientists of the country and the Government has a responsibility to restore their honour”, Nair said.

To a question, he said he has not undergone “so much mental strain” (following the order) even when he faced failure of first PSLV rocket in 1993.

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