Come clear on ISRO-Devas deal: BJP tells PM

BJP on Monday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come clear on his role in the ISRO-Devas deal and fix responsibility.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 20:47 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Monday asked Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to come clear on his role in the ISRO-Devas
deal and fix responsibility, saying the Space Department comes
directly under him and the government cannot get away by
merely calling the agreement a "procedural lapse".

"The Cabinet Secretary`s report to the Prime Minister
calls the Antrix-Devas deal a procedural lapse. We feel this
was a glaring, palpable lapse of the political leadership of
the party presently ruling the nation," BJP chief spokesperson
Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Alleging that the deal had caused a "loss of public
face" of the government, BJP maintained that had the media and
the opposition not raised this issue the Congress-led
government would never have cancelled the agreement.

"This whole ISRO and the Department of Space comes
under the Prime Minister. If this was a procedural lapse what
were you (the PM) doing. The Cabinet Secretary, Minister of
State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan, Space Secretary and others sit
there," Prasad said.

BJP condemned the incident and demanded an explanation
from the Prime Minister.

"BJP very strongly condemns this palpable attempt to
put the whole issue under the carpet by taking the alibi of
procedural lapses.... We demand categorically from Manmohan
Singh that he tell the nation who all are responsible and what
is his role in the lapses in this deal," he said.

He alleged that the Cabinet Secretary`s report
"conceals more than it reveals".

The main opposition also compared the Antrix-Devas
deal with other spectrum contracts to argue that there had
been a huge loss to the exchequer.

"In 2005, ISRO made a deal with Devas to give it two
captive satellites for just Rs 1,000 crore. Along with this,
70 MHz spectrum was to be given for 20 years," Prasad said.

He cited the auction of 15 MHz spectrum for 3G which
had fetched the government Rs 67,719 crore and the broadband
wireless services auction where Rs 38,000 crore was obtained.

"The decision to terminate the agreement was taken way
back in July 2010, after finding it was not in the nation`s
interest. And the agreement was finally cancelled in February
2011," Prasad said.

PTI