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Natwar Singh's plea opposed in apex court

delhi Updated: Jul 29, 2010 20:12 IST

IANS
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The Directorate of Enforcement on Thursday opposed in Supreme Court former external affairs minister Natwar Singh's plea seeking access to documents on a scam linked to the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

Singh wanted to go through the documents placed by the directorate before a committee that exonerated him in the oil-for-food scam.

The request of the petitioner is to stultify the adjudication proceedings against him, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the apex court bench of Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar.

The solicitor general told the court that if requests, like the one made by Natwar Singh, were to be entertained then no adjudication proceedings would ever reach their logical conclusion.

"If the directorate of enforcement was to go as demanded by the petitioner (Natwar Singh) (then) no adjudication would ever proceed," Subramanium said.

The court was told that the petitioner wants to inspect 83,000 documents to find out if there was something that supported his case.

The solicitor general told the court that after receiving the application from Natwar Singh, the directorate scanned all the records to find out if anything that was relevant to the case had been left out.

The court was told that there has to be "specificity" in the petitioner's request for furnishing of the documents.

In his rejoinder arguments, senior counsel UU Lalit appearing for Natwar Singh and his son Jagat Singh said that a committee headed by Justice RS Pathak, which probed the scam, said that he did not benefit financially or otherwise.

The committee's observation was based on perusal of the documents, material and the evidence tendered before it by the directorate.

Lalit said Natwar Singh was entitled to seek those documents that were now being relied upon by the enforcement agency in proceeding against him for the violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

He said that two people who tendered evidence before Justice Pathak were also witnesses in the FEMA proceedings initiated by the directorate.

The senior counsel said that unless his client was privy to what these two people have told Justice Pathak committee, how would he be able to know if they were sticking to the same version before the inquiry by the directorate of enforcement or saying something different.