Posing eight questions to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on what it termed ‘mega scam' in spectrum allotment of 70MHz by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to the Antrix Corporation, the BJP on Tuesday charged him with presiding over the ‘most corrupt regime' in the history of independent India.
At a news conference here, chief BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Prime Minister had to answer all questions as he himself was heading the Department of Space.
Demanding a proper and prompt enquiry into all dimensions of the latest scam, Mr. Prasad wanted to know whether the ISRO sought the Prime Minister's approval for awarding the deal to a private firm and if sanction was given what were the terms and conditions.
Mr. Prasad wanted to know whether the 2005 agreement between the ISRO and Devas Multimedia (headed by M.G. Chandrashekhar, former Scientific Secretary of the ISRO) was approved by the Government of India as it involved parting with government property.
Mr. Prasad said the spectrum of 20 MHz was given to the BSNL for Rs. 12,847 crore, whereas it was given to Devas for Rs. 1,000 crore for 70 MHz.
Did the Department of Space, headed by the Prime Minister, insist on public auction of valuable 70 MHz spectrum in view of large-scale expansion of mobile telephony and related use, and if didn't, why?Did the Prime Minister or his office require the ISRO to ensure that at least some mechanism was in place to have reasonable pricing of the spectrum to be leased to Devas Multimedia? If there was no such direction, what were the reasons?
Maintaining that the Space Commission took a decision to terminate the agreement with the private organisation only in July 2010, the BJP spokesperson wanted to know why it took 5 years to do so.
Why no monitoring?
“Why was no prior review or monitoring of irregularities done? What was the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office dealing with the Ministry of Space and present Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chauhan, doing for 5 years when such massive irregularities and corruption was staring the government in the face?”
Why was it that in spite of the decision to terminate the agreement in July 2010, it was not implemented and who prevented the monitoring and review of decision immediately when a wrong was committed?
Other questions included the circumstances and with whose approval a former Scientific Secretary of the ISRO allowed to do business with the ISRO itself causing great loss to the nation and whether the claim of Devas Multimedia that it had not received any communication from the ISRO on review of the contract was correct.