Oil-for-food scam: Two Indian diplomats quizzed | india | Hindustan Times
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Oil-for-food scam: Two Indian diplomats quizzed

Two senior Indian diplomats were on Friday examined by the RS Pathak Inquiry Authority in the oil-for-food scam in Iraq.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 18:07 IST

Two senior Indian diplomats were on Friday examined by the RS Pathak Inquiry Authority probing the alleged involvement of former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh and Congress in the oil-for-food scam in Iraq.

Indian Ambassador to Jordan R Dayakar, who was envoy to Iraq in 2001, had allegedly hosted a reception for the four-member Indian delegation led by Natwar Singh, which visited Baghdad in January that year, sources said.

The one-man panel also quizzed Krishan Kumar, the present Deputy Chief of Indian Mission (DCM) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who was Consul at the Indian Consulate in Aman, Jordan, during that period, they said.

Kumar is said to have chalked out the itinerary of the delegation in Baghdad besides meeting it en route at Aman, Authority officials said.

The panel is understood to have quizzed both the diplomats on the constitution of the delegation, its purpose of the visit, and sought an affirmation on the number of "other" persons who allegedly accompanied it.

This follows an alleged admission by Andaleeb Sehgal, Director of Hamdaan Exports, on May 30 before the panel that he had met Natwar at the reception hosted by Dayakar and discussed with the then External Affairs Minister the lifting of oil from Iraq.

Sehgal had allegedly got himself introduced to Natwar as a food supplier at the party, which was also attended by several other Indian businessmen.

The UN Volcker Report had named Natwar and Congress as "non-contractual beneficiaries" in the oil-for-food scam in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime. The panel has examined Natwar and his son Jagat last month.