BJP questions Govt panel to review Antrix-Devas deal
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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 situation."

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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