On Friday president of Pune-India chapter of the National Space Society (NSS), Suresh Naik, told ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM), in the course of an interview for The Times of India, that Antrix should not be a part of Isro.
He was speaking to BMM in connection with the current Isro scam following the deal with Devas, a Bangalore-based firm. Naik's observation assumes significance in the context of him being a former scientist with Isro's Space Application Centre located in Ahmedabad.
He said that if Antrix had remained a separate entity and not a commercial arm of Isro, the space agency's reputation would have remained unscathed. According to him Isro should emulate the example of Nasa and focus on research rather than on commercial operations.
What happened 24 hours later? Naik's vision turned partly into a reality. At the Space Commission's meeting held in New Delhi on Saturday, a decision was taken that K.Radhakrishnan would be divested of his responsibility as chairman of Antrix and a new chairman-cum-managing director for Antrix would be appointed for which a search committee has been set up.
Radhakrishnan told the media that a separate CMD for Antrix was now needed because it had acquired the status of what is known as a mini-ratna organisation. If we are believe him then the question is why was this important announcement not made earlier? It was done only after the scam broke out, clearly indicating that this was the real reason for removing Radhakrishnan. Under the circumstances one cannot arrive at any other conclusion. This is only too obvious. Radhakrishnan's statement is, therefore, again a clear cover up.
The question now is---is this stage one for removing Radhakrishnan as chairman of Isro also at a later stage? There is speculation among space scientists that this could happen too and according to media reports he had expressed a desire to call it a day. If he resigns it only means that he is acknowledging that he too has some responsibility for the scam and bringing bad name to Isro-----an organisation which earned the title of being the true Brand Ambassador to India on January 22,2007 at the Davos meet, following the success of the first Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1).
Also as a part of restructuring Antrix, is the appoinment of a new cmd suggest that it marks phase one of Antrix being completely converted into a independent body not under Isro?
While Isro has decided to annul its controversial agreement with Devas, it is expected to be ratified by the Cabinet Committee For Security next week. Isro officials told BMM that the process has to be completed by March 9,2011. One Davos brought credit to Isro while Devas brought it discredit. Really it is from Davos to Devas!
Whatever it is in just 24 hours the vision of Naik became a partial reality.