A special court has granted a month’s time to the CBI to obtain from appropriate authorities the sanction to prosecute a former additional secretary in the Department of Space (DoS) in the Antrix-Devas deal case.
Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal was told by the CBI that the agency was yet to obtain the sanction to prosecute Veena S Rao after which the court posted the matter for further hearing on September 16.
The CBI had on May 1 informed the court that the sanction to prosecute ex-ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair and others — A Bhaskar Narayana Rao, the then Director in ISRO, and K R Sridhar Murthy, the then Executive Director of Antrix — has been received.
The CBI had filed an FIR on March 16, 2015 against Nair and others accusing them of facilitating “wrongful” gain of Rs 578 crore to private multi-media company Devas by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
The agency had on August 11 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused, alleging that they had caused a loss of Rs 578 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.
It was alleged in the FIR that the lease was given in violation of the rules, causing an undue gain of Rs 578 crore to Devas Multimedia and corresponding loss to the exchequer.
The charge sheet had accused the then Secretary, Department of Space, Chairman, ISRO and Antrix Corporation Madhavan Nair, Devas Multimedia and seven others of criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Besides Nair, Narayan Rao, Veena S Rao and Murthy, others named in the charge sheet as accused included Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, former Managing Director of Forge Advisors and CEO of Devas Ramachandra Vishwanathan and the then Director of Devas M G Chandrasekhar.
Two directors of Devas Multimedia D Venugopal and M Umesh were also named in the charge sheet as accused.