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Oct 25, 2010 at 09:05pm IST

Prasar Bharti CEO defends CWG broadcasting deal

New Delhi: The multi-crore Commonwealth Games broadcast deal followed all rules - Prasar Bharati CEO BS Lalli claims the payment was approved by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Following allegations of corruption involved in the Commonwealth Games broadcasting rights - Prasar Bharti CEO BS Lalli has come out to defend the deal with British SIS Live Communications.

Lalli says the Information and Broadcasting Ministry approved the deal and the original contract was not changed. SIS Live Communications was given the Rs 246 crore broadcasting contract for Commonwealth Games including coverage of Games at all venues as also the opening and closing ceremonies. SIS Live Communications, it was alleged, was in violation of tax laws and that the top brass of Prasar Bharti had shown undue haste in disbursing payments even when its own member finance had advised against it.

Whatever payment procedures were there, they were as per an approved payment schedule. The minister's approval is required. All payment to SIS Live Communications was approved by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The charges that have been levelled against Prasar Bharti are that contract clauses like termination clause and bank guarantee were changed after bid was won by SIS Live and contract signed.

Prasar Bharti's reply to this was that the top most law officer in the country cleared details of the contract, and no clauses were changed to benefit anyone, after contract was signed.

There were also charges that said Prasar Bharti repeatedly ignored advice from member finance.

The CEO of Prasar Bharti, however, said that all decisions were taken after wide consultations and not done individually and approval was needed from ministry at various levels and it was taken.

For the records, Information and Broadcasting Ministry had advised Prasar Bharti in a 2008 letter to take into account opposition of member finance.

Prasar Bharti in its reply stated that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry eventually took a comprehensive view and the awarding of the contract had the approval from Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

Meanwhile, the BJP has now demanded a joint parliamentary body to investigate the issues.