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It doesn't absolve government of culpability: BJP

Special Correspondent



Shahnawaz Hussain

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said the annulment of the S-Band spectrum deal between Indian Space Research Organisation's commercial arm Antrix and Devas Multimedia does not absolve the Prime Minister and the government of the culpability in the scam.

Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told journalists that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have to answer several questions on the deal, including the identity of those who initiated it and stood in the way of the deal being scrapped.

While the original decision was taken to annul the deal in July, the government took seven months to implement it. “Who is behind the pressure on the government that caused the delay?” Mr. Hussain said.

The government decision came owing to pressure from the media and the Opposition. The Opposition was heckled by the Congress when the issue of 2G telecom licences was raised and action demanded against the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja.

Seeks enquiry

Separately, another BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said the government must explain as to why the deal was signed in the first place and the reasons for scrapping it after so long.

“Why wasn't the deal scrapped when the Space Commission recommended its scrapping. There should be a complete enquiry and people concerned should give nation the due answers,” she said.

The BJP wanted to know why the deal was being cancelled at a juncture when it was to come into effect in a few months. “We want to know what went wrong leading to the cancellation of the deal,” she said.

Ms. Seetharaman sought to know whether the government was allowing foreign firms to have a “back-door entry” into the fields where private firms were not allowed so far.

“The band of spectrum which was to be sold is being used by agencies like Coast Guard. It certainly raises issues of national security,” she said.

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