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Volcker: Financial details of Natwar's kin sought

The Enforcement Directorate has sought the help of Income Tax department seeking financial details of Aditya Khanna.
By Press Trust of India | None, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON APR 23, 2006 01:31 PM IST

The Enforcement Directorate has sought the help of Income Tax department seeking financial details of Aditya Khanna, a relative of former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, and his family members.

ED is busy preparing the "show cause" notice to people who allegedly received kickbacks in oil-for-food scam.

The ED is also considering the next course of legal action against Khanna that includes making a request for his deportation from UK on the ground that his travel document was not valid, ED sources said.

Khanna had slipped away to London despite his passport being on "watch list".

The agency had sought Income Tax department's help in providing details about the tax returns filed by the Khannas, which included those by Aditya, his father Vipin and brother Arvind Khanna, who is a Congress MLA from Sangrur, the sources said.

The money that the ED was trying to trace related to events of five years ago and it would take sometime to locate them from such huge transactions that had taken place over this period of time, the sources said.

In a related development, the ED had got a fresh set of documents from an unnamed destination from abroad, following which Director of Hamdan Exports Andaleep Sehgal was again questioned earlier this week.

The documents showed his links with Swiss based Masefield oil company, a company named by the Volcker Commission, which lifted oil from Iraq.

Sehgal chose a Sunday to visit the Enforcement Directorate office during which he was confronted with the fresh set of documents received from a foreign country.

When contacted by the agency, Sehgal confirmed that he had been called by the ED but refused to divulge the nature of questioning.

The Enforcement Directorate was also trailing the money that had been transferred from the London bank account of Khanna to his Parliament Street branch and its further disbursement.

The ED sources said that they had been able to locate a few but was gathering evidence about the final end users of the money.

Khanna is alleged to have received the payments from Masefield, the company which got contracts in the oil-for-food scam from Iraq.

The ED investigating the Indian angle of Iraq's oil-for-food scam, as brought out by Volcker Committee, has questioned several people including Natwar, Jagat, Sehgal and Aneil Matherani, India's former envoy to Croatia, several times as part of their investigations.

The Enforcement Directorate recently got a shot in its arm when the Delhi High Court upheld the decision of the ED of revoking passports of various people, including Jagat Singh, son of Natwar Singh.

Besides the passport of Jagat, the travel documents of Suman Sehgal, father of Andleep, prominent businessman Vijay Dhar, youth Congress leader Jameel Zaidi and one Asad Khan had been seized by the Enforcement Directorate earlier.

The Enforcement Directorate was also likely to issue show cause notices, a virtual chargesheet under FEMA with civil liability, soon to Natwar Singh and some others in connection with alleged irregularities in the oil-for-food scam.

The show cause notice to the former External Affairs Minister is likely soon as the Directorate had stumbled upon a letter purportedly written by Singh to former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz introducing businessman Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of his son Jagat Singh, and recommending him for contracts under the UN-sponsored oil-for-food programme in Iraq, the sources said. Natwar Singh has already denied he had ever written such a letter.

On February 17 and 18, the ED had questioned Natwar Singh after the agency had received a set of bank documents from Iraq and Jordan in the oil-for-food scam probed by Volcker.

Those to be served the show cause notice would be given time to reply to the notice for allegedly abetting violations under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Under FEMA, abetment is also construed as violation of the Act.

Besides Singh, Sehgal, his son Jagat, some more people will be issued the show cause notices.

After they file their reply, the matter would go for civil adjudication and financial penalties would be imposed on them, if found guilty. 

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