New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General report on the controversial Antrix-Devas deal tabled in Parliament has called it "a classic case of public investment for private profit". The report comes down heavily on the Department of Space saying that in its eagerness, it concealed facts from the Cabinet and violated several rules.
The report also has harsh words for retired ISRO employees MG Chandrasekhar and D Venugopal. The report says that the interests of the public and the government were sacrificed to favour a private consultancy firm promoted by the duo.
"Antrix-Devas deal is a classic instance of failure of governance structure in which selected individuals, some serving and some retired public servants were able to propel agenda of private entity," says the CAG report.
According to the CAG the Antrix-Devas agreement was "cherry picked from two different models in a way to extend maximum benefits to Devas".
The report goes on to say that there is an expectation that the government should deliver a high standard of integrity in civil services, public institutions and public services There is also a need to recognise and deal with conflict of interest issues so that fundamental integrity of decisions, departments and government is not undermined and this conflict is evident in multiple roles exercised by former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair.
The deal between ISRO's commercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia involved the allotment of the scarce S-band spectrum, the same radio frequencies used for cordless landlines and the bluetooth on phones.
The deal was scrapped in 2011 when reports surfaced that ISRO had sold the spectrum worth almost Rs 2 lakh crore for just Rs 1,000 crore.
The government set up two probe panels soon after which the government blacklisted former Nair and three others.