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Pathak Comm probing role of Natwar Singh

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 4: The Union Government today told the Delhi High Court that the Justice R S Pathak Commission has been looking into the alleged involvement of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and Congress Party in the ''commission-for-oil'' scam during the Iraq's Saddam Hussain regime.

Filing a report before a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain the government questioned the veracity of the petitioner as a man with public interest.

''The petitioner has failed to disclose public interest or general interest for the enforcement of which the present petition has been filed,'' said the affidavit filed by V P Arora, an Under Secretary in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue).

The Enforcement Directorate has already initiated investigation against some people allegedly involved in a huge transaction of foreign exchange.

Some officials of the Reliance Industries had also been questioned to ascertain the company's involvement in the deal, the reply said.

The petition has sought reasons of alleged discrimination by the government to institute a commission to probe against Natwar Singh and not against Congress party or Reliance as mentioned in the Volcker Report.

On January 4, the High Court had heard the petition seeking extending the purview of the Justice Pathak Committee to investigate the alleged involvement of Congress Party and Reliance Petroleum Ltd apart from former Minister Natwar Singh for receiving oil vouchers from Iraq's Saddam Hussain regime for a kickback.

The petitioner Tripathi, a Journalist has filed an affidavit mentioning the reply of Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh in Rajya Sabha to the question of MP S Ambalan on the commission constituted to investigate involvement of Mr Singh.

He Petition contended that the Volcker Committee report had named former External Affairs Minister Singh, Congress Party and Reliance Petroleum Ltd as the non-contractual beneficiaries, who allegedly paid kickback to ther Iraqi President Saddam Hussain for lifting oil under the United Nation's Oil for Food programme.

UNI

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