M A I N   N E W S

Justice Pathak submits report to Manmohan Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Justice R S Pathak Inquiry Authority that went into the allegations against former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh and the Congress party that they were the beneficiaries in the UN oil-for-food programme bungling during sanctions on Iraq as referred by the Volcker Committee, today submitted his report to the Prime Minister.

The report, marked as confidential, was submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening by Justice R S Pathak, a former Chief Justice of India, who was entrusted with the probe in the matter in November last year.

The order issued by the government to appoint the authority on November 11, 2005, had specific reference of probe pertaining to two specific contracts under the UN oil-for-food programme with alleged beneficiaries K Natwar Singh and the Congress party as listed in the Volcker report.

Justice Pathak had taken nearly eight months to complete the inquiry, the proceedings of which were closed for the public and the media.

The Inquiry Authority had questioned Natwar Singh, his son Jagat Singh, Andleeb Sehgal, a close friend of the latter, and some other persons, whose names had figured in the voluminous Volcker report or in the Directorate of Enforcement probe.

In the wake of the allegations against the Congress party and Natwar Singh, he had to resign as External Affairs Minister in the Manmohan Singh government under tremendous pressure from the Opposition and the media.

The Volcker Committee was set up by the UN to look in the allegations that the then Iraq Government, headed by ousted President Saddam Hussein, was getting cuts from those who were allocated coupons for supplying oil under the UN programme in exchange for food supplies to sustain the supply of essential commodities to the country facing sanctions.

The Volcker Committee in its fifth and final report submitted on October 27, 2005, had named Natwar Singh, the Congress party and several Indian firms as beneficiaries of the alleged bungling in the oil-for-food programme.

But the Authority’s scope of probe was confined to the Congress and Natwar Singh.





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