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S-band spectrum: BJP, AIADMK want PM to break silence

Source: PTI
February 10, 2011 00:11 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to break his silence and personally clear the air on the allocation of the scarce S-band spectrum, dubbing it a "mega scam."

Congress on its part debunked as "completely bizarre" charges of a mega scam claiming that "apples are being compared to pears" by using 3G auction as a benchmark for valuing S-band spectrum.

"The BJP is not satisfied at the government's silence on the mahaghotala (mega scam)...as the Department of Space comes under him, the prime minister should break his silence and address the nation on how such a scam took place," BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.

He said the party will wait till the beginning of the budget session for the prime minister to break his silence. The PMO yesterday issued a statement terming reports of loss in S-band spectrum allocation as without basis. Hussain said since the department works under the "maharaja" (referring to the prime minister), it was necessary that he himself should come clean on the issue.

"He should address a press conference and tell the nation how a scam could take place in a department controlled by him. Any delay in clearing the air is not acceptable," Hussain said.

Asked whether the BJP would seek the resignation of the prime minister as it did in case of former Telecom Minister A Raja for his alleged role in 2G scam, Hussain said first the prime minister should make a statement on the issue. "After that, we will see what we have to say," he said.

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa asked "How the prime minister, an economist of repute, can be a silent accomplice to such gross misdemeanours is beyond me. Singh has to break his silence and come clean." she said.

Otherwise, people would lose faith in the central government and the "nation will become a laughing stock before the whole world," Jayalalithaa said in a statement in Chennai.

Media reports of a Rs two lakh crore loss to the national exchequer in allocation of 70 Mega Hertz of valuable S-band spectrum were shocking to say the least, she said. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said "This entire thesis of pegging the loss using 3G auction as a benchmark for valuing spectrum and calling it a scam is completely bizarre....and should be debunked".

Claiming that "apples are being compared to pears", he said that it needed to be understood that if 3G price would have been applied to the 2G licences, then a telephone call would have cost Rs 50.

He wanted the opposition to understand that police, emergency services, broadcasting and meteorological services do also use the scarce spectrum.

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