BJP questions Govt panel to review Antrix-Devas deal

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) BJP today questioned the compositionof a high-powered panel to review various aspects of lease ofscarce S-band spectrum by ISRO and wondered how B K Chaturvedicould probe the issue when he was himself among those who hadapproved the agreement as Cabinet Secretary in 2005.

"Is it right if decisions taken by some people areinvestigated by the same people," BJP spokesperson NirmalaSitharaman asked, claiming Chaturvedi as Cabinet Secretary wasone of those who had approved the agreement between ISRO''scommercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia.

She said the BJP was "very worried" that every decision thegovernment was taking to answer allegations was turning out tobe an attempt to "cover up".

The two-member Committee, headed by B K Chaturvedi, Member,Planning Commission, will review the technical, commercial,procedural and financial aspects of the Agreement betweenAntrix and Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd, an official statementtoday said.

It will also review the adequacy of procedures and approvalprocesses followed by Antrix, ISRO and Department of Space,and suggest improvements and changes.

"It seems the objective of the new panel set up by thegovernment is an attempt to cover up," Sitharaman said.

She also said the steps taken by the government on blackmoney seem to be "half hearted".

"Why is Hassan Ali free...BJP is glad that the Supreme Courthas asked the government to ensure that he (Ali) does notleave the country. Till now that guarantee was not comingthrough from the government. The steps taken so far have giventhe impression that that they covered up more than theyanswered," the BJP spokesperson said.

Alleging that the government was not owning up its failuresin decision making, she said, "On the contrary they are comingup with statements which are worse and confusing thesituation."

Claiming that government''s "failure to behave in anaccountable fashion was very worrying", she demanded aresponse from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA ChairpersonSonia Gandhi and the Congress party.

Media reports had stated that the Department of Space hadallocated 70 MHz of S-Band spectrum to Devas Multimedia for Rs1,000 crore. The actual value of this was estimated to bearound Rs 2 lakh crore, the reports claimed.

The PMO had, however, denied the reports, saying no decisionhas been taken and hence charges of revenue loss were withoutany basis.

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