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Former ISRO chief moves CAT

Kochi(PTI): Upping the ante, former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair today moved the Central Administrative Tribunal here, challenging the government’s decision to bar him from holding government posts for his alleged role in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal and seeking its quashing.

File PhotoIn a petition, Nair sought quashing of chapter 6 of the September 2, 2011, report of the high-level team constituted by the government to examine the facts and circumstances of agreement between Antrix and Devas Multi Media Private Ltd.

Nair, who is peeved at the government action, sought quashing of the January 13 order excluding him from right for re-employment, committee roles or any other important role under government and its bodies and divesting him of any current assignment with government and its organisations.

He was also aggrieved by the January 13 order, terminating his appointment as Dr Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor and sought a direction to the government for his reinstatement till the expiry of his four-year term. In the alternative, he sought adequate compensation.

Nair submitted that after his retirement, his successor (incumbent Radhakrishnan) had taken up the matter with the government and pursued it allegedly on the basis of an internal review, suggesting that the agreement with ‘Devas’ was ‘heavily loaded’ in favour of the company.

The three government orders had ‘damaged’ his reputation as an individual and status as a scientist, especially when he had associated with the Department of Space from its inception, he said, adding, they had been issued with ‘substantial amount of malice’.

The orders were against the principles of fair play and natural justice and are ab initio void and incompetent for want of jurisdiction and authority, he submitted.

It is not known who or under what authority the first committee had been constituted.

“The same vagueness was evident in respect of the second committee as well,” Nair said.
Alleging the constitution of such a committee was irregular, he said it had no backing of any statutory prescription and was beyond government’s administrative powers.

The committee was ‘casually’ constituted and apparently one of its members, Radhakrishnan, had taken upon himself that the applicant should be at the receiving end, Nair charged.

“What ought to have been done at least for complying with principles of natural justice was to give me an audition and inviting my attention to material claimed to be against me,” he said.

The high-level team, in spite of its “defective” constitution, had a duty to inform him of the deficiency, if any, in the procedure, call for his version and provide him an opportunity for hearing before coming to a conclusion, Nair said.

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