M A I N   N E W S

ED notices to Natwar, Jagat Singh
Oil-for-food scam
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 3
After being indicted by the Justice R.S. Pathak Inquiry Authority in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, suspended from the Congress along with his son Jagat Singh, was today issued notice by the Enforcement Directorate seeking his reply.

The directorate also issued notices to Jagat Singh, Andaleeb Sehgal, the alleged main beneficiary of the oil coupons, his business partner Aditya Khanna and Sehgal’s another associate Vikas Dhar.

All of them were asked to submit their replies by September 14 by the directorate, which was probing any violation of foreign exchange regulation laws by them, sources in the directorate said.

When asked whether the fresh notices were a sequel to the report of the Justice Pathak authority, the sources said: “We want to investigate the matter further to get into the bottom of it.”

The directorate is looking into alleged violations of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), under which abetting the violation of law is also an offence even if the person abetting has not gained any financial benefit.

Apart from the Volcker report, the directorate, which took parallel probe into the matter in October last year, had earlier received documents of banking transactions from Jordan and Iraq.

Following this, it had questioned Natwar Singh, Jagat Singh and other persons in February.

The notices had also been issued to Sehgal’s companies — Haamdan Exports Pvt Ltd and Haamdan India Pvt Ltd — which allegedly had lifted the oil.

The notices to the accused were issued after the submission of the Justice Pathak authority report to the Prime Minister on August 7 and the government placing it before Parliament with the Action Taken Report during the last session.

The notices to the accused virtually set in motion the adjudication proceedings against them for alleged violation of the foreign exchange laws if substantial proof were found against them as the Enforcement Directorate has quasi-judicial powers to impose penalty.

The scam had come to light in the report of the Paul Volcker committee, which had probed the entire gamut of misuse of the oil-for-food scheme. Names of the Congress and Natwar Singh were mention in the Volcker report as “non contractual beneficiaries.”

However, the Justice Pathak authority had given clean chit to the Congress and indicted Natwar Singh for “misusing” his position to make recommendations for the supply of oil coupons to Sehgal’s companies.



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