M A I N   N E W S

Congress suspends Natwar
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
Former External Affairs Minister K.Natwar Singh’s long association with the Congress is all set to end with the party suspending him from its primary membership for indiscipline.

The party also served a showcause notice to Mr Natwar Singh, asking him to explain the notice for privilege motion given by him in the Rajya Sabha against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the ‘leak’ of Pathak Authority’s report.

The decision was taken at a late- night meeting of the party’s disciplinary action committee (DAC), headed by Mr A.K.Antony, former Kerala chief minister, and attended by senior leaders — Pranab Mukherjee, Motilal Vora and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Talking to newsmen, Mr Pranab Mukherjee said Mr Natwar Singh had been suspended from the party as he had misused his position as the leader of the Congress delegation to Iraq in 2001 and for furthering commercial interests of his son’s cousin, Andaleeb Sehgal, for his company Hamdan Exports.

He further said Mr Natwar Singh had expanded the Congress delegation to include his son and his cousin without any authority from the Congress president and without her knowledge. He had also been charged with carrying on propaganda against the party and bringing disrepute to it.

The DAC’s decision was only a formality as the party leadership had principally decided to proceed against Mr Natwar Singh on Monday only.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had conferred with senior Cabinet ministers last night where the party’s top brass felt that the Pathak Authority’s report and Mr Natwar Singh’s subsequent conduct warranted action.

His fate was sealed after the Pathak Authority on the Volcker allegations held him guilty of facilitating oil contracts from Iraq for persons close to him.

The party took strong exception to the three letters he wrote on the AICC letterhead in his capacity of chairman of the party’s Foreign Affairs Cell, to the Iraqi oil minister, introducing his son and nephew to him.

He also incurred the party’s wrath for his intemperate public utterances and consorting with non-Congress parties like the Samajwadi Party, the BJP, the Janata Dal (U), the TDP and the AIADMK.

Mr Natwar Singh was also in the dock for the letter he wrote to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekawat, asking him not to alow the Prime Minister to speak in the House as Congress members had prevented him from giving his side of the story.

His absence during the vote on the Office of Profit Bill did not go unnoticed by the party either.





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