PM to respond to scam charges in press conference

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NEW DELHI - Besieged by a series of corruption scams, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will Wednesday meet the press to field questions on the opposition’s charges ahead of the budget session of parliament beginning next week, official sources said.

The sources said Manmohan Singh will meet TV editors at his official 7 Race Course residence Wednesday morning.

The conference will be covered live by state-run Doordarshan from 10.30 a.m. onwards.

The sources said that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was working out the modalities of the telecast. Permission to allow private TV channels to bring in their cameras was under consideration.

The other possibility for private channels, the sources said, is to get the feed recorded by Doordarshan.

The media conference that comes in the wake of a number of corruption scams is significant as it comes in the backdrop of several allegations of financial irregularities, including in the allocation of spectrums of 2G spectrum and S-band.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had recently alleged that Manmohan Singh “presides over an empire of corruption and scams”. The S-band issue brings the prime minister under the scanner as the space department portfolio is looked after by him.

There have been allegations that the nation suffered revenue losses because space spectrum using S-band - high value and scarce radio waves - was given by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s commercial arm to a private company, Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, at throwaway prices without competitive bidding.

The sources said that the Wednesday media conference would give the prime minister a platform to directly answer the allegations.

The media interaction in New Delhi comes after a similar exercise on Sep 6 last year, after the stormy monsoon session, when Manmohan Singh met editors of the print media.

Filed under: Politics

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