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ED may issue notice to Natwar

The showcause notice will be served in connection with the Oil-for-Food scam.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 01:26 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The Enforcement Directorate is likely to soon issue a show cause notice to former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh in connection with the probe in the Oil-for-Food scam in Iraq.

The notice is being issued after the ED stumbled upon a letter said to have been written by Natwar Singh to former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz introducing Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of his son Jagat Singh, and recommending him for contracts under the UN-sponsored Oil- for-Food Programme in Iraq, agency sources said on Friday night.

The former External Affairs minister would be given time to reply to the notice for allegedly abetting violations under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Congress saw nothing surprising in ED issuing a notice to Natwar Singh in the wake of the Justice Pathak inquiry authority going into the Volcker committee report.

The report had named him as one of the beneficiaries of the Iraqi oil payoffs.

"Does it really surprise you that Natwar Singh gets a show cause notice", Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

He was wondering whether the matter could have gone further without Singh getting a showcause notice.

Noting that the matter was being "sensationalised for nothing", Singhvi said it was an issue precisely for the inquiry authority to look into.

Another Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said guilty would be brought to book and no efforts would be spared in this matter.

She said Congress as a party has no involvement in the matter.

Natwar Singh, Jagat Singh, Andaleeb Sehgal, India's former ambassador to Croatia Aniel Matherani have been questioned by the ED since the Volcker controversy broke out in late October last year.

Reacting on the matter, BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley said he did not think the Justice Pathak inquiry had any teeth and that the committee is not empowered to collect information in connection with the banking transactions in Switzerland.

"This can be done provided a case of corruption is registered in India and on the basis of that case, a letter of request is sent to Swiss authorities to find out, among other things, to whom the Masefield made payments to", Jaitley said.

First Published: Apr 07, 2006 22:44 IST