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Space scientists back former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair over govt. ban row

Bangalore , Tue, 31 Jan 2012 ANI

Bangalore, Jan 31 (ANI): Senior scientists extended strong solidarity with the former chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), G. Madhavan Nair, on Tuesday, criticising the government for barring him and three other scientists from holding any state appointments.


Earlier in the week, the Central Government had issued a ban on Nair, K Bhaskaranarayana, the former scientific secretary at ISRO, KR Sridharamurthi, the former managing director of Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, and K N Shankara, the former director of the ISRO satellite centre, for their alleged role in the Antrix-Devas deal.


Voicing strong support for Nair, ISRO scientist Roddam Narasimha maintained that the government should not have ended his professorship.


"See, that is, two things happen. See, nobody need ask other people's advice, advice has not arrived. But, to terminate a professorship, is a very serious thing. That should not have been done," Narasimha told mediapersons.


Narasimha further urged the government to take measures to end the simmering face-off by giving the scientists a chance to present their arguments.


"I think that the scientists should have been given a chance. I think there is still wide misunderstanding of exactly what happened. That misunderstanding must be corrected before any kind of action is contemplated," said Narasimha.


Meanwhile, the chairman of the Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Council, C.N.R. Rao, steered clear of getting involved with the controversy.


Refusing to respond to mediapersons' repeated appeals to speak on the issue, Rao simply stated 'no comments'.


Last year, the government cancelled the contract of ISRO leasing transponders on two of its satellites to private firm Devas Multimedia, which granted it access to S-band telecom spectrum, worth billions of dollars to communication providers.


India's Space Department, which functions under Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, denied of any revenue being lost. The contract with Devas was signed by ISRO during Nair's tenure as Chairman of ISRO.


S-band spectrum, while not currently in extensive use, is likely to become increasingly valuable in India's fast growing mobile phone network, with its ability to provide wireless broadband and other mobile data services. (ANI)


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