A special court today granted two months to CBI to get sanction from authorities concerned to prosecute ex-ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair and other former senior officials for allegedly facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multi-media company Devas by Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm.
Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar allowed the agency’s plea and posted the matter for March 30 after it submitted that it is yet to obtain sanctions under 197 CrPC from authorities concerned to prosecute former senior ISRO officials.
CBI had on August 11 last year charged Nair and senior space department officials with causing a loss of Rs 578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour the private company.
The case relates to leasing S-Band, restricted wavelength of INSAT satellites to deliver video, multimedia and information services to mobile receivers in vehicle and mobile phones to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.
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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.
The charge sheet had named the then Secretary Department of Space, Chairman ISRO and Antrix Corporation G Madhavan Nair, Devas Multimedia and seven others and accused them of criminal conspiracy, cheating and offences under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Besides Nair, others named in the charge sheet as accused include the then Executive Director of Antrix K R Sridhar Murthy, former Managing Director of Forge Advisors and CEO of Devas Ramachandra Vishwanathan, and the then Director of Devas M G Chandrasekhar.
Former Additional Secretary in the Department of Space Veena S Rao, the then Director in ISRO A Bhaskar Narayana Rao and two directors of Devas Multimedia D Venugopal and M Umesh have also been named in the charge sheet as accused.
CBI has accused them of having committed offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to cheating and certain provisions of 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 has been alleged that the government officials abused their position to favour Devas by giving them rights for delivery of videos, multimedia content and information services to mobile phones using S-Band through GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A satellites and terrestrial systems in India.