New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to former Isro chairperson G. Madhavan Nair in the Antrix-Devas case that had caused a loss of Rs578 crore was caused to the exchequer.
Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted bail to Nair on a personal bond of Rs50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.
During the proceedings, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the court that two accused could not be served summons as they had settled in the US, and the process was still on to execute the summons to them.
The court, meanwhile, took a strict view over the non-appearance of accused Veena S. Rao, a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS), on grounds she had a meeting with the Karnataka chief minister. “She (Rao) should be careful about her decisions.... Since it is her first appearance after the summons, she is exempted," the judge said.
CBI opposed the bail plea, saying they were high-profile people and may flee if released on bail. However, except three accused, the court granted bail to the rest who appeared before it, including A. Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then director in Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and K.R. Sridhar Murthy, former executive director of Antrix.
The court had on 16 September summoned Nair and others as accused while taking cognizance of the CBI chargesheet which alleged that Nair and other officials of Isro and the Department of Space (DoS) wrongfully leased out S-Band, a restricted wavelength of the INSAT satellites, to Devas Multimedia by Antrix.
The cognizance of the final probe report was taken after CBI apprised the court that it had secured the requisite sanction from the authorities concerned to prosecute the former officials of premier space organizations.
A First Investigation Report (FIR) was filed on 16 March 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful" gain of Rs578 crore to private multimedia company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of Isro. CBI had on August 11 last year filed a chargesheet against the accused, alleging that they had caused a loss of Rs578 crore to the exchequer by abusing their official position to favour a private company.
The case 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.