Volcker issue soiled my image: Natwar
While Natwar refused to accept noose was tightening around him, he stated displeasure over the Congress' attitude.india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 12:36 IST
Breaking his silence over the controversial Volcker Committee disclosures on Iraq's Oil-for-Food scam, former Indian external affairs minister K Natwar Singh on Thursday complained that the issue was unnecessarily dragging on.
"The prolonged process has damaged my reputation in the public eye," he told a news channel in an interview.
Natwar Singh also expressed his concern over the extension given to the Justice RS Pathak panel, the one-man judicial authority probing his alleged role in the scam.
"Whereas the probe was to conclude within three months, it is now being unnecessarily dragged on for long," he maintained.
Pathak's six-month term comes to an end in May.
Natwar Singh also rebutted allegations that he and his son Jagat Singh had been evasive after the scandal broke.
While Natwar Singh refused to accept that the "noose is tightening around his neck", he expressed ample dissatisfaction over the Congress Party's attitude towards him and his family.
He was responding to media reports that were directed against him but not the Congress - which is also named as a non-contractual beneficiary in the Volcker report.
He further denied that his son Jagat, his friend Andaleeb Sehgal or businessman Aditya Khanna were fronting for him or that he was using any of them as a shield.
In the interview, Natwar Singh also denied that he wrote any letters to Tariq Aziz, then Iraq's foreign minister, introducing Sehgal or referring to oil transactions.
The Paul Volcker report made public a list of corporations and politicians across the world that benefited from an elaborate scam devised by now deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to make money for his regime and presumably himself from the United Nations' Oil-for-Food programme.
Natwar Singh had resigned from the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 6, a month after the scam broke.