ISRO declines to disclose correspondence letters regarding Antrix-Devas deal
A High Level Team (HLT) or High Powered Review Committee (HPRC) had recommended action against four senior scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) after finding them responsible for various acts of commission in the controversial Antrix-Devas deal. Based on the report, G. Madhavan Nair, A. Bhaskaranarayana, K. R. Sridhara Murthi and Dr. K. N. Shankara were excluded from re-employment, committee roles or any other such roles under the government and they had to resign from all their assignments and consultancies with the government.
In this regard, an application was filed with ISRO under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the details of actions taken against the officials. It also sought to get the copies of the letters written by such individuals. The reply to the application stated that the desired information could not be provided because it is exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act as the matter is currently under investigation and also under Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act as the contents of the letter are personal in nature. However, the reply also stated that ISRO has undertaken many systematic reforms in Antrix, Department of Space and in the conduct of business in Space Commission and that it has requested Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Department of Revenue to conduct necessary investigation for possible acts of omission and commission.
The deal has been controversial and has hogged the limelight. Would the true facts ever come out in the public domain?