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Rajnath demands probe into oil for food scandal

Written by: Staff

Rourkela, Apr 8 (UNI) BJP president Rajnath Singh today demanded that the 'oil for food' scam case be immediately handed over to the highest investigating agency in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate unearthing two letters written by former External Affairs Minister K Natawar Singh to former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.

Addressing the newsmen here on his third day visit of the Bharat Suraksha yatra, Mr Singh said the investigating agency must be empowered to conduct the enquiry at an international level, adding that the Pathak inquiry committee, lacked the requisite authority to conduct such a wide ranging investigations.

The Enforcement Directorate investigation into the Indian links in the international oil for food scandal had taken a dramatic turn as there were credible reports to indicate that the ED had unearthed at least two letters written by former External Minister, he said.

The letter indicated that the minister introduced Andaleeb Sehgal, who had been named as a non-contractual beneficiary in the UNA -sponsored Volcker Report, to the Iraqi authorities.

This apart he drew the attention of the Iraqi authorities to the historical links between the Congress and the Baath Party in Iraq, the BJP leader alleged.

These letters suggested that Mr Singh might not have been acting in his individual capacity but as a representative of Congress. The Congress, he said, was also named a ''Non-contractual beneficiary'' by the Volker report.

Mr Rajnath Singh said the oil for food case had taken such a tern that the search for the truth could not be confined to mere departmental investigations.

The BJP president said the Congress leadership must explain it's role in the oil for food programme. The charge that the party allowed foreign money to influence was too serious to be brushed away, he said.

The Congress president, who also headed the party during the time the oil coupons were allegedly issued, owe an explanation to the country, the BJP leader added.

He further said a similar charge of the party being influenced by foreign interests was levelled last year following the release of new material from the Mitrokhin archive, a set of KGB documents in the possession of the British Government and the BJP had urged the Centre to put diplomatic pressure on the British Government to release all the information pertaining to India.

Mr Singh said when national security was under threat from various quarters, the country should know whether ''political decision were taken on the strength of national interests or for collateral consideration.'' UNI XC DP SJC SK VD RS1346

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