(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 20, 2011
On the S-band Spectrum Scam
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on February 11, 2011.
THE Business Line-Hindu newspapers have exposed the S-band spectrum deal involving the ISRO Company Antrix and a private company, Devas Multimedia. By this agreement, the private company was to get access to high quality spectrum of 70 MHz through the launching of two custom-made satellites. The presumptive loss of revenue to the government would have been at least Rs 2 lakh crore.
Faced with this exposure, the UPA government has resorted to the now familiar pattern when confronted with large-scale scams and corruption. It has sought to underplay the extent of wrongdoing, claim that the agreement has not been implemented and obfuscate the issues involved.
A number of questions remain unanswered in this affair which falls under the purview of the Department of Space, which is directly under the prime minister. How is it that the cabinet gave clearance for launching the first satellite in December 2005 which is meant solely for the purpose of the private company? Why was the agreement not cancelled when the contract was found to be inappropriate and the Space Commission wanted it annulled in July 2010? Why is it that the government did not act even after the Additional Solicitor General had recommended that the termination of the agreement be a government decision?
The latest decision by the prime minister to constitute a two-member committee to “review” the agreement is highly questionable. What is the necessity for a “review” when already the contract has been found to be unjustified and needs to be annulled? The persons appointed --- a former cabinet secretary and a member of the Space Commission --- were both involved in the processing of the deal. The intention seems to be to keep this as an in-house matter.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands an independent time-bound high-level enquiry by a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
There are media reports of the obstructions faced by the Comptroller and Auditor General in examining the contract. The CAG should be able to examine fully all the relevant papers regarding the agreement.
The people of the country will not be satisfied till all the facts about this dubious deal are uncovered and the guilty brought to book.