The CBI has received sanction to prosecute Veena S Rao, a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS), in the Antrix-Devas deal case, sources in the agency said today. The agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet in the case, which relates to leasing of S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicles and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
It had charged former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair and senior space department officials with causing a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by “abusing their official position to favour Devas Multimedia”. Rao, the then Additional Secretary in the Department of Space, was named in the charge sheet. The CBI received the sanction to prosecute Rao recently and it informed the court about the development yesterday, the sources said.
They said the court had posted the matter to September 16 but the date was advanced to September 1 after the CBI informed it about the development. The agency is required to obtain a prosecution sanction from the central government under Section 197 of the CrPC before putting a serving or former government official on trial in a case.
The agency has already received the sanction to prosecute the rest of the accused, including Nair.
Nair and Rao have denied the allegations levelled by the CBI. The agency had alleged the accused had committed offences under various IPC sections pertaining to cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly being party to a criminal conspiracy with an intent to cause undue gain to themselves or others by abusing their official position.
It was alleged in the FIR that the lease was given in violation of rules causing undue gain of Rs 578 crore to Devas Multimedia and corresponding loss to the exchequer.