PM appoints committee to go into ISRO deal on S-band spectrum

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singhtoday appointed a high power committee to review variousaspects and fix responsibility for lapses in the controversialdeal between Antrix Corporation, ISRO''s commercial arm, and aprivate company for lease of scarce S-band spectrum.

The two-member Committee, headed by former CabinetSecretary and Member, Planning Commission B K Chaturvedi, hasbeen asked to review the technical, commercial, procedural andfinancial aspects of the agreement between Antrix and DevasMultimedia Pvt. Ltd.

It will also review the adequacy of procedures andapproval processes followed by Antrix, ISRO and Department ofSpace, and suggest improvements and changes and submit areport within a month.

Noted aerospace expert Roddam Narsimha, Member, SpaceCommission is the other member of the committee.

The Terms of Reference also tasks the committee to fixresponsibility for lapses with regard to the agreement, whichmedia reports claimed could have caused loss of Rs two lakhcrore to the national exchequer.

A number of Union Ministers sought to know details aboutthe deal at the meeting of the Cabinet today. The PrimeMinister asked K Radhakrishnan, Secretary, Department ofSpace, to brief the ministers on the deal.

After a brief discussion on the issue, the Prime Ministertold the Cabinet that he has already set up a committee andsought a report on the matter within a month. At this stage,it was decided to wait till the committee submits its report.

When pointed out that Chaturvedi was Cabinet Secretarywhen the deal was signed, I&B Minister Ambika Soni said shewas not in a position to comment but added that "he would knowhow and why it happened".

Chaturvedi also dismissed as "bunkum" suggestions that hewould not be able to give a fair report as he was CabinetSecretary when the deal was signed. .

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