No free hand for govt officials: Antony on ISRO controversy

In the backdrop of ISRO S-band spectrum controversy, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said no one can expect a free hand in a democracy and that "checks and balances" are there to ensure accountability.

Updated: Feb 09, 2011, 21:24 PM IST

Bangalore: In the backdrop of ISRO S-band
spectrum controversy, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said
no one can expect a free hand in a democracy and that "checks
and balances" are there to ensure accountability.

"In a democracy. Nobody can expect a free hand. Checks
and balances are part of it. Ministers, scientists, officials,
none of us can expect to have free hand," he told reporters at
the Aero India press conference here.
Media reports had stated that the Department of Space,
which comes directly under the Prime Minister, 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 Prime Minister`s Office had yesterday denied
reports, saying no decision has been taken and hence charges
of revenue loss were without any basis.

Antony was asked about the extent of freedom to
government officials in the backdrop of the ISRO
controversy.

The Defence Minister added that all the Government
functionaries including Ministers and officials were
accountable to the people and Parliament.

"At the end of the day, we are accountable to Indian
people and parliament," he added.
Antony said in the Defence Ministry, "whatever free
hand is required, we are giving it and that is why we are
progressing."

He said Government did not interfere in the day to day
functioning of departments "but at the same time, there are
checks and balances in the systems itself.

PTI