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Natwar served show cause notice

india Updated: Sep 03, 2006 22:33 IST

Nearly a month after Pathak authority indicted former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and his son Jagat in Iraqi oil-for-food scam, Enforcement Directorate has issued show cause notices to them and four others for alleged violation of Foreign Exchange Management Authority (FEMA) Act in the scam.

Capping its 10-month probe into alleged kick-back to Indian entities in the oil-for-food scam which took ED sleuths to Iraq, Jordan, London and the US, the Directorate served the notices to Natwar, his son Jagat, family friend Andaleep Sehghal, Aditya Khanna, a kin of Natwar, Asad Khan, son of a senior Congress leader, and Andaleeb-owned Hamdan Exports Limited.

They have been asked to reply to the notices by September 14, official sources said.

Those served the show cause notice have been allegedly abetting violations under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Under FEMA, abetment is construed as violation of the Act.

The notice was delivered by ED to Singh and Jagat at his residence in Delhi late on Saturday night while he was away in Rajasthan visiting his constituency.

Reacting to ED's issuing him show cause notice, Natwar Singh said over phone from Rajasthan that it was ironic that "while Pathak Authority had given me a clean chit, a department of the Central Government was all set to defame and harrass me." 

Jagat has always denied that he has received any payment in the deals.

Natwar was suspended from Congress on August eight, a day after the Pathak authority was tabled in Parliament. Soon afterwards, Jagan too was suspended.

Singh, who was questioned by ED in February this year after the agency had received a fresh set of bank documents from Iraq and Jordan in the oil-for-food scam investigated by the UN's Volcker Committee report, has been accused by ED of having misused his position in facilitating Andaleep his kin Aditya to lift oil from Iraq under the food-for-oil programme.

Natwar, Chairman of Congress Foreign Policy Cell in 2001 when the oil scam took place, had given letters of introduction for Sehgal on the party letterhead addressed to the Iraqi oil ministry. He had also led a Congress delegation to Baghdad in which Jagat was also present.

As per the Pathak authority, Aditya Khanna and Jagat's friend, Andaleeb Sehgal, received commissions amounting to $1,46,000 from foreign companies to whom they sold their oil coupons given by the Saddam Hussain regime in 2001.

The ED had been investigating the Indian angle of Iraq's oil-for-food scam with the ousted Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in the oil-for-food programme under the aegis of the UN between 1996 and 2003 as brought out by Volcker Committee and questioned several people including Natwar, Jagat, Sehgal and Aneil Matherani, India's former envoy to Croatia, several times.

Those served the show cause notices would file their reply before it goes for the civil adjudication.

Matherani, who was part of the four-member delegation headed by Natwar to Baghdad, has been exonerated of any wrong doing by Justice Pathak as also by Enforcement Directorate.

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