THE JUSTICE R.S. Pathak Inquiry Authority report tabled in Parliament on Monday indicts Natwar Singh as a 'beneficiary for influencing and facilitating' oil contracts for Andaleeb Sehgal and his partner Aditya Khanna.
The report, however, says there is no material to show that Natwar derived any financial or other personal benefit from the contracts. It absolves the Congress of any non-contractual benefit from the scam.
The report was tabled by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram -- along with the ATR -- amid uproar by opposition members demanding an apology from the PM for allegedly leaking it to the media.
Sehgal and Khanna may be heading for trouble as the ATR speaks of action.
"The entire report will be forwarded to the Directorate of Enforcement, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central Board of Excise and Customs for action as warranted under law," it says. The Pathak report holds Natwar responsible for fructifying deals using the party's name to help Sehgal, the main beneficiary.
On January 30, 2001, Natwar wrote a letter to the then Iraqi oil minister, Ameer Mohammad Rashid, seeking full 'assistance cooperation' for Sehgal's business -- termed an evidence against him in the report. On January 22, 2001, Natwar had led a Congress delegation to Baghdad. Natwar met Rashid, and introduced son Jagat and Sehgal to him. Sehgal was introduced as Jagat's cousin.
The report says Sehgal and his partner Aditya Khanna received $1.46 lakh for two oil contracts but no financial benefits from the contract were traced to Natwar and Jagat.
Based on documents from the International Inquiry Committee headed by Paul Volcker, the ED and subsequent inquiries, and the cross-examination of witnesses, the Pathak commission tracked the trail of the five-cents-per-barrel surcharge that the two received.
The Pathak authority found that Sehgal and Khanna had opened a company, INDRUS, in Jersey, Channel Islands, in whose accounts the commission of five cents per barrel was received.
Sehgal's share was transferred to the Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank account of Sehgal Consultants and Hamdaam Exports (official address: Pancsheel Enclave). Khanna retained his share in INDRUS's account.
The money was shared in 4:1 ratio between Sehgal and Khanna. They paid a total surcharge of $7.48 lakh to SOMO (the Iraqi company which procured the oil).