'I&B agreed to CWG broadcast mess as it had no option' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'I&B agreed to CWG broadcast mess as it had no option'

delhi Updated: Aug 05, 2011 01:09 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
New Delhi

The mess created by Prasar Bharati in broadcast of Commonwealth Games had left the Information and Broadcasting ministry with no option but to agree to its recommendations favouring a private broadcaster. Or else, it would have jeopardized telecast of the games, the CAG has said.

National broadcaster Prasar Bharati wanted contract conditions with SISlive, the UK based consortium responsible for telecasting the games, to be changed for allowing 60% advance payment, instead of 30%, and submitted a proposal to I&B minister in September, 2010.

"Given the circumstances and the fact that there is no time to initiate fresh process…the ministry does not have the option of revisiting the issue," Raghu Menon secretary I&B wrote regarding ministry’s decision to allow 60 % advance payment. The secretary also mentioned that then Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar wanted the telecast to be ensured.

I&B minister Ambika Soni at an oversight committee meeting, constituted to provide policy direction on telecast issues, felt that changing the payment schedule can open legal intervention by other parties and said some parties chose to opt out of the bidding process because of the terms and conditions of the payment schedule.

In the same meeting, the CAG says, the law minister (Veerappa Moily) felt the opinion of solicitor general (SG) Gopal Subramanium had not specifically given a finding on legality of the changing the payment condition, which Soni said he (SG) should had rather than leaving the decision to competent authority.

The report details the huge loss to the government because of ill planning and alleged favourtism.