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Volcker controversy: Matherani questioned

The one-man Pathak Commission, probing the Indian angle into the oil-for-food scam, on Monday examined India's former envoy to Croatia Aniel Matherani.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 22:56 IST

The one-man Pathak Commission, probing the Indian angle into the oil-for-food scam, on Monday examined India's former envoy to Croatia Aniel Matherani, father of a Congress MLA from Punjab and a Rajasthan Youth Congress leader in connection with alleged kick-back in the deal.

The panel, which recently got an extension of three months to submit its report, questioned Matherani for nearly two hours as he was part of a four-member delegation led by former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh which had visited Iraq in January 2001.

Matherani later said that he did not wish to comment on what had transpired between him and the panel. "Don't try to rope me now into any controversy again. This meeting was confidential and it shall remain so."

The former envoy to Croatia had created a political storm in December last year in remarks to a weekly in which he claimed that Natwar was allegedly involved in getting oil vouchers for himself and Congress party from the then Iraqi government headed by Saddam Hussein. He had later said that his remarks were taken out of context.

Others examined by the one-man probe panel were Vipin Khanna, father of Congress MLA from Sangrur Arvind Khanna, and Youth Congress leader from Rajasthan Jameel Saidi.

Vipin was prevented from flying abroad in April this year as his son, Aditya, had managed to give a slip to immigration officials despite revocation of his passport by the Ministry of External Affairs.

First Published: May 29, 2006 22:15 IST