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New spectrum scam bigger than 2G: Report
NEW DELHI/ CHENNAI, FEB 7 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 7 Feb. 2011 11:25 PM IST
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Even before the 2G spectrum allocation scam gets unraveled in its entirety, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is said to be suspecting another, bigger than 2G, scam in the allocation of S-band spectrum.
According to a report published by a leading national daily Monday, the CAG is enquiring into a 2005 agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd and Devas Multimedia Private Ltd relating to the allocation of S-band broadband spectrum to the latter without the invitation of competitive bids.
Although, it is too early to decipher the exact figure, but the dubious allocation of spectrum is said to have caused a loss of `2 lakh crore to the national exchequer, as compared to the `1.76 lakh crore presumed loss due to the faulty allocation of 2G spectrum.
ISRO is under the Department of Science, which is directly in the Prime Minister’s charge.
The company that allegedly benefited from the deal, Devas Multimedia, is headed by Dr M G Chandrashekhar, who was earlier scientific secretary at ISRO.
“Under the deal, Devas Multimedia is to get access to 70 Mhz of broadband spectrum in the 2500 Mhz band. This was once used by Doordarshan to deliver programmes by satellite to all parts of the country but is now considered to be of enormous commercial value for high-speed, terrestrial mobile communications. In 2010, the Union government got nearly `67,719 crore from the auction of just 15 Mhz of similar airwaves for 3G mobile services,” the report says.
The CAG suspects foul-play because unlike in earlier contracts, ISRO places no restrictions on Devas Multimedia for onward leasing of spectrum. That means the company could make huge amounts of money by sub-leasing its privileges.
This is said to be the first time that S-band, which ranges from 2500 to 2690 Mhz, has been opened up to the private sector.
The CAG is concerned that ISRO’s internal procedures were flouted, while the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet, and the Space Commission were not fully informed about the contract, including the underestimation of ISRO’s costs, report claims.
Swamy seeks sanction to prosecute Karunanidhi
Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy on Monday sought the Tamil Nadu Governor’s sanction for prosecution of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for allegedly allotting land to a “favoured few” under discretionary quota in “violation” of rules.
“He (Karunanidhi) has violated every rule and allotted to a favoured few,” Swamy told reporters after submitting his petition to office of Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, a day after the DMK chief issued him a legal notice for linking his name to the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Swamy claimed he had enough evidence on the issue. “I will never say anything without proof. I have done it always and have won my cases,” he said.
He alleged that the Tamil Nadu Housing Board has earmarked 15 per cent of the land to the Chief Minister for discretionary allotment. The allotment by Karunanidhi was in violation of Section 11 and 13 of the Prevention and Corruption Act. “Hence, Karunanidhi must resign and be prosecuted,” Swamy said.
Swamy said he has mentioned the names of those who benefitted, but refused to disclose them.
“I have given names of people who don’t deserve to get it. It includes civil servants, judges, police Officials and a variety of people”, he said.
Asked about Karunanidhi’s legal notice issued to him, he said he had not received it yet.
“No, I have not received any legal notice. If it comes I will put it only in the wastepaper basket. What is there for notice. He has no guts. Let him go to court. He is only sending legal notices only to terrorise the media,” he said.
Karunanidhi had yesterday issued a legal notice to Swamy, demanding retraction of his ‘statement’ linking him to the 2G spectrum allocation scam within 24 hours.
In his notice to Swamy, the DMK patriarch had dismissed the allegation as being “motivated by your personal malice, political rivalry and clamour for cheap publicity”.
The DMK chief’s notice came two days after Swamy’s plea in a Delhi court for continuance of his private complaint in the 2G spectrum case, seeking to claim that it covered a wider canvas of “involvement” of Karunanidhi.
Appreciating Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj for sanctioning prosecution of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Swamy said, “He did not hesitate and did it overnight. I do not know whether Barnala will do it (like him). But the final matter is I expect him (Barnala) to give sanction.”
Asked whether his party would form an alliance with AIADMK for the coming Assembly polls, he said, “Why should I go for an alliance (with AIADMK). If they want let them come and talk.”
This is the second time that Swamy has sought sanction to prosecute a chief minister of the state. Previously, he had sought sanction and got it from then Governor M Chenna Reddy to prosecute the then chief minister Jayalalithaa in the ‘TANSI (Tamil Nadu Small Industries) land’ scam.
Meanwhile, former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday backed Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy’s demand to name Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi as a co-accused in the 2G spectrum scam.
Swamy Saturday sought to name Karunanidhi along with former communications minister A. Raja in his complaint to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in New Delhi.
In a statement here, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa said: “Raja is only a pawn. The kingpins have to be brought to book.
“With the Supreme Court monitoring every turn of the investigation, I trust justice will prevail and the money looted will be recovered in full and the culprits brought to book.
“The staunch defence put up by Karunanidhi of Raja’s murky deals is itself a clear indication that he was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the spectrum scam in which the nation has lost an estimated Rs.1,76,000 crore.
“I fully back Subramanian Swamy’s demand in court that Karunanidhi should be named as a co-accused in the case.”

 
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