Monday, February 7, 2011

CAG found scam bigger than 2G scam

The Comptroller and Auditor General suspects a scandal bigger than 2G in the allocation of S-band spectrum.

The loss runs into Rs 2 lakh crore, while the 2G spectrum scandal, which cost A Raja his job as telecom minister, is believed to have cost the nation a little less, at Rs 1.7 lakh crore. 

The Department of Space and ISRO are under the scanner because the CAG has found that the deal was awarded without the invitation of competitive bids.

The Hindu reports: "Hard on the heels of its explosive investigations of the 2G spectrum allotments made in 2008 by the Department of Telecommunications, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has started inquiries into a 2005 agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd. and Devas Multimedia Private Ltd."

The company that allegedly benefited from the deal, Devas Multimedia, is headed by Dr M G Chandrashekhar, who was earlier scientific secretary at ISRO.

The CAG was alerted because unlike in earlier contracts, ISRO placed 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 Hindu group's business paper, Business Line, is credited with breaking the story.