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PM should break silence on S-band: Jaya

Chennai: AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to break his silence on the alleged S-Band spectrum scam and come out clean on the issue.

"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 in a statement here.

Otherwise, people would lose faith in the Central Government and the "nation will become a laughing stock before the whole world," Jayalalithaa said.

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.

Citing the reports, she said Devas Multimedia, a Bangalore-based company, was in 2005 given "complete control" of 70MHz of S-band spectrum that can be used for mobile broadband services for 20 years at a throwaway price of Rs 1000 crore.

Jayalalithaa alleged the sale was made by the commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation Ltd and the allotment done without following a competitive bidding process and in total violation of the guidelines for such sale.

Last year, the Union Government had auctioned a mere 15 MHz of similar airwaves for Rs 67,719 crore, which forms the basis for estimating the loss to the nation out of the ISRO spectrum deal as Rs two lakh crore, she said

"This mammoth ISRO deal, pertaining to the sensitive Department of Space, which comes directly under the control of the Prime Minister, was brought to light when the Comptroller and Auditor General of India commenced a preliminary audit of the activities of the Department of Space."

Although the Space Commission in July 2010 strongly objected to the contract and recommended that it be scrapped, this has not happened, she said, adding the deal between ISRO?s Antrix Corporation and Devas has to be immediately nullified and spectrum allotted to the private company should be recovered.

A thorough probe has to be initiated to find out how precious national resources are so "flippantly being frittered away and who the real beneficiaries of such largesse are," she said.

"It is a national shame that scams running to lakhs of crores of Rupees are tumbling out of the UPA Government?s closet with monotonous regularity," she said.

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