Pathak report flawed, says Natwar | india | Hindustan Times
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Pathak report flawed, says Natwar

The former foreign minister trashes Pathak report that indicted him for misusing position to win oil contracts.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2006 19:00 IST

K Natwar Singh, former external affairs minister who has been expelled from the Congress, told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the Pathak Inquiry Authority should have probed how the ruling party's name figured as a "non-contractual beneficiary" in Iraq's oil-for-food corruption scandal.

Natwar Singh, who was finally allowed to make a "personal statement" in the upper house of parliament, trashed the Justice RS Pathak Authority's report that had indicted him and his son Jagat Singh for misusing their position in getting oil contracts.

"Paragraph 15.8 of the Pathak Authority report clearly states that on Aug 21, 2001, the Executive Director SOMO wrote to the Iraqi oil minister seeking approval of the allocation of one million barrels of crude oil 'for the benefit of the Indian Congress Party.'

"Justice Pathak then says enigmatically, 'How the name of Indian Congress Party came to be mentioned in the report is not known.' But this is precisely what he was required to find out," Natwar Singh said.

Insisting that he had committed no impropriety, the veteran leader maintained there was no evidence to link his name with Iraq's oil-for-food scam "except through surmises".

Natwar Singh categorically said that during his entire stay in Baghdad in January 2001, "no discussion or talk took place with any Iraqi authority with regard to the oil for food programme, oil contracts, vouchers, bank accounts etc".

"My affidavit and statement to the Pathak Authority have been completely ignored by the Authority.

"I have not signed any contract nor have I received any voucher," he added.

Terming the probe report as "flawed", he said its conclusions "are at best questionable".

On an emotional note, Natwar Singh said: "My record in public life is without blemish. God has been good to me; therefore there is no reason to indulge in acts of impropriety for personal gain.

"I am in the evening of my life and shall meet the Cosmic Master with my head high. Clean I came into the world and clean I shall depart," the 75-year-old diplomat-turned-politician said.