Monday, February 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India





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UK reopens Hinduja passport inquiry

London, February 3
The Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair has reopened an inquiry into the so called Hinduja affair, a controversy over passports granted to two wealthy Indian brothers, his Downing Street office said today. Downing Street said Sir Anthony Hammond, a senior lawyer who published his official report on the affair last March, had been asked to reopen his inquiry as "further papers had come to light." 

In March last year, Sir Hammondís report ruled that the successful naturalisation applications by Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja "were handled properly and within established criteria." 

His inquiry cleared Peter Mandelson, who resigned as Northern Ireland Secretary after questions were raised about his role in the citizenship application of Srichand Hinduja. The resignation was a personal blow to Mr Blair, who had relied on Mandelson as a leading strategist of the 1997 national election campaign. 

The report concluded that the passport applications were not linked to the Hindujasí donation of $ 1.45 million to support an exhibition on religion at the Millennium Dome. AP
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