PMO did not approve S-band spectrum deal: Manmohan Singh

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Thursday said neither his office nor the cabinet had approved the 2005 agreement to allocate S-band spectrum to the private firm, Devas Multimedia.

“There is no question of Prime Minister’s Office being asked to approve the deal. It never came to that level,” Singh told the Rajya Sabha.

Rebuffing claims that huge potential government revenue had been lost in a satellite spectrum contract lease recently scrapped by his government after corruption allegations, Dr. Singh said only the decision to approve the satellite part had come to the cabinet.

“Antrix Corporation is a commercial arm of ISRO and these things (agreement) don’t come to the government for approval indirectly, since part of the commitment was to provide two satellites. The decision to approve the satellite part did come to the Cabinet. It did come to the Space Commission and, as I said, thereafter to the Cabinet. But it was not mentioned even in the Cabinet note that there was commitment between Antrix and Devas. So there was no question of the Prime Minister’s Office being asked to approve this deal,” he added.

The government last week cancelled the ISRO contract with Devas Multimedia to lease satellite space after discovering irregularities in the deal, dealing a fresh blow to Singh’s government already under fire over corruption scandals.

The decision to terminate the contract was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Earlier, the PMO issued a statement which denied reports that a private company has been allotted a whopping 70MHZ of spectrum for barely Rs. 1000 crore through a deal with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which reports directly to the Prime Minister.

The PMO clarified that no decision has been taken by the Government to allocate space segment using S Band Spectrum to ANTRIX Corporation or Devas Multimedia.

“Hence, the question of revenue loss does not arise and any such reports are without basis in fact,” the statement added. (ANI)

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