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BJP questions Govt panel to review Antrix-Devas deal

Last Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 16:29

New Delhi: BJP on Thursday questioned the composition
of a high-powered panel to review various aspects of lease of
scarce S-band spectrum by ISRO and wondered how BK Chaturvedi
could probe the issue when he was himself among those who had
approved the agreement as Cabinet Secretary in 2005.

"Is it right if decisions taken by some people are
investigated by the same people," BJP spokesperson Nirmala
Sitharaman asked, claiming Chaturvedi as Cabinet Secretary was
one of those who had approved the agreement between ISRO`s
commercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia.

She said the BJP was "very worried" that every decision the
government was taking to answer allegations was turning out to
be an attempt to "cover up".

The two-member Committee, headed by B K Chaturvedi, Member,
Planning Commission, will review the technical, commercial,
procedural and financial aspects of the Agreement between
Antrix and Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd, an official statement
today said.

It will also review the adequacy of procedures and approval
processes followed by Antrix, ISRO and Department of Space,
and suggest improvements and changes.

"It seems the objective of the new panel set up by the
government is an attempt to cover up," Sitharaman said.

She also said the steps taken by the government on black
money seem to be "half hearted".

"Why Hassan Ali BJP is glad that the Supreme Court
has asked the government to ensure that he (Ali) does not
leave the country. Till now that guarantee was not coming
through from the government. The steps taken so far have given
the impression that that they covered up more than they
answered," the BJP spokesperson said.

Alleging that the government did not own up its failures
in decision making, she said, "On the contrary they are coming
up with statements which are worse and confusing the

Claiming that government`s "failure to behave in an
accountable fashion was very worrying", she demanded a
response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson
Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party.

Media reports had stated that the Department of Space had
allocated 70 MHz of S-Band spectrum to Devas Multimedia for Rs
1,000 crore. The actual value of this was estimated to be
around Rs 2 lakh crore, the reports claimed.

The PMO had, however, denied the reports, saying no decision
has been taken and hence charges of revenue loss were without
any basis.


First Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 16:29
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