S-band deal no scam, merely a fallout of corporate battles: Cong

Party resaons that there was no actual transaction following the signing of the contract


Sweta Ranjan | February 9, 2011

With the government under fire over the S-band irregularities, the Congress on Wednesday made attempts at damage control seeking to divest the issue of its association with scams.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the matter has assumed importance only in the light of corporate battles for spectrum space in the telcom sector.

While space agency Isro admitted that the details of teh deal had not been revealed to the space commission or to the union cabinet in 2005, Tiwari insisted that the deal did not amount to a scam as no actual transaction took place.

"Signing a contract does not mean a scam. In cse od S-band, only the contract was signed. No spectrum has been handed to company neither has any money been received" the Congress leader said.

He said that the 3G spectrum can not be a benchmark for a scam. “Such a thing might have happened because of the battle among the corporate for getting space in S-Band," he maintained.

S-band has massive commercial value in mobile telephony. Also known as 2.5 GHz band used in 4G mobile technologies like WiMax and LTE, the S-band spectrum is usually auctioned globally.

Terrestrial mobile phone operators have been insisting that the”2.5 -2.69 GHz band (S-Band) be fully preserved as an extension band for 3G services”. But advocates of satellite mobile services such as the Isro argue that S-Band is the only available spectrum in India to establish satellite mobile services.

On June 14, 2010, the department of telecom advised the department of space to reconsider the deal with Devas. Top sources said apart from telecom and finance ministries, the law ministry had recommended the outright scrapping of the contract as it felt the provision to provide 70 MHz of S-band airwaves valued at hundreds of crores was improper. Tiwari says, “the law ministry had suggested to scrap the contract may be because of some unfavourable clause as there were number of clauses in the contract.”

However, Tiwari admitted that cabinet needs to be apprised about every satellite launch. "This was not done in this case," he admitted, “it can be possible that the contract was signed knowingly and it was an effort to enter the market of space launch business”.



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