'All decisions taken after Ambika Soni's approval'

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Delhi CWG 2010
New Delhi, Oct 25: Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer BS Lalli, who has come under the scanner over the Commonwealth Games broadcasting contract handed over to a British firm, on Monday, Oct 25 not only refuted all the allegations and defended the deal, but also tried to shift the focus onto the Ambika Soni-led I&B Ministry.

Mr Lalli said that Prasar Bharati struck a deal with UK-based SIS Live for telecast of Commonwealth Games only after the approval of Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Ambika Soni.

At a joint press conference with Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma, tainted CEO, stated, “The selection of the entity was made with the approval of the competent authority — the Honourable Minister for Information and Broadcasting."

He also added that the payment which has been made till date is according to schedule which has been approved at the highest level.

Informing that the contract amount was in 2008 finalised at approximately Rs 253 crore, Lalli said, “Based on the cost escalation and other factors I am happy to say that the final contract of Rs 246 crore made with SIS Live was well within limits."

Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma also explained how the contract ended up being awarded to SIS Live.

A total of six companies had been shortlisted, out of which only two namely Nimbus and SIS Live had made bids. Since the Nimbus consortium broke up, only SIS Live was left and the contract was awarded to them, Sharma informed.

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