Days after the CBI filed a charge sheet in the Rs. 578-crore Antrix-Devas deal case against former ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair and three others, one of the bureaucrats has called the charge sheet ‘shocking, laughable and ludicrous’.
Apart from Nair, the former Additional Secretary in the Department of Space Veena S. Rao, then ISRO Director A. Bhaskar Narayana Rao and Executive Director of Antrix K.R. Sridhara Murthi were charge-sheeted by the CBI on Tuesday.
In 2012, a High Level Team probing the conspiracy had proposed action against Veena Rao, who was allegedly among those "who have been found responsible for the acts of ommissions by not paying enough attention to details and not ensuring that the various notes that were put up for decision to the competent authorities included all necessary details and had undergone various necessary consultative processes".
The HLT report stated that ISRO’s "approval process was riddled with incomplete and inaccurate information given to the union cabinet and the Space Commission."
Veena Rao (Image: Facebook)
Veena Rao however has defended herself.
“I took charge as Additional Secretary, Dept of Space on December 22, 2004, and handed over charge in December 2005. The Antrix Devas Contract was approved at the Antrix Board meeting held on December 24, 2004. I was NOT present at the Board meeting, as I had not yet been appointed to the Antrix Board, and therefore had no knowledge of it. It is difficult to imagine how I could have entered into a conspiracy within 2 days after my taking charge, regarding a Contract approved at a Board meeting, at which I was not even present!” she wrote.
She also says that the CBI has not showed her original documents during the due course of investigation.
“When the CBI came to record my statement along with their papers, I categorically pointed out to them that the photocopied papers they were showing me were not genuine. I have sent e mails to them which I am placing below. Where have the original documents disappeared? Surely the CBI knows that if original documents have been concealed or destroyed, it is an offence punishable under Section 201 IPC,” she said.
She says that she is being targeted as a ‘trick’ by the CBI to show they have done a ‘perfect investigation’, “Clearly, a bureaucrat had to be indicted along with the scientists, so the usual trick - Pick on the weakest of them without a shred of evidence, a woman of the highest integrity, but without any political or ideological cover, and thinks it has done a perfect investigation.”