The treatment meted out to the former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman, G. Madhavan Nair, was inappropriate, according to senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. “This is not the way to treat a great scientist like him,” said the member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Telecommunications.
Asked about the charges levelled against Mr. Nair and three others and the decision to bar them from holding any government posts, Mr. Singh said it was the responsibility of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to deal with such issues. Dr. Singh should speak on issues relating to space science and nuclear technology. But it was unfortunate that junior Ministers and bureaucrats were being asked to deal with the controversy.
Mr. Singh wanted the Prime Minister to directly answer questions on the issue.
To a query on the outcome of the Assembly elections in five States, he said he was not an astrologer to predict it.
On the CBI Special Court rejecting Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's plea to name Home Minister P. Chidambaram as an accused in the 2G spectrum case (for his alleged role when he was the Finance Minister), Mr. Singh said the reprieve had come only from a trial court and Dr. Swamy had the option of moving the High Court and the Supreme Court. He alleged that the 2G issue was mishandled by the Congress-led United Progress Alliance government from the beginning.
The controversy, however, should not derail the telecom revolution that the country had witnessed from 1994, which resulted in the number of cellular subscribers going up manifold and the call charges coming down drastically.
On the CBI's assertion that even the National Democratic Alliance had a role in the spectrum scam, Mr. Singh said it was free to probe and it had even “interrogated” him on the subject.
Referring to opposition to nuclear plants, Mr. Singh said that any new initiative required the co-operation of people without which it could not be a success. He welcomed the initiative taken by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in forming a technical committee to allay the fears of people around Kudankulam.
He refused to subscribe to theories that there was a foreign hand and influx of funds in the opposition to the nuclear projects. “Even if there was a foreign hand, ability and self-confidence should help in overcoming such oppositions.”