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Pathak, govt "deliberately ignored" vital document : Natwar

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) In a fresh bid to defend his case in the Volcker controversy, an embattled former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh today released a copy of a letter written to the government by Permanent Mission of India (PMI) to the United Nations saying that the UN-appointed Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) had the inclination to discredit the opponents of US policy.

In a statement here, the suspended Congress leader alleged that the Manmohan Singh government and the Justice R S Pathak Inquiry Authority had "deliberately" ignored certain vital inputs made available by the PMI with regard to the authenticity and veracity of the Volcker report.

The statement of Mr Natwar Singh was read out to the media by his son Jagat Singh, a Congress MLA in Rajasthan.

Mr Jagat Singh provided a copy of the letter of Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla at PMI to the Joint Secretary (UNP) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), dated October 30, 2005.

"I would like to point out that now Justice Pathak's inquiry has in its own convoluted way totally discredited the basis of Paul Volcker's allegations," he said.

"In addition, I place before the people of India what the PMI has reported in the Final report on the oil-for-food programme investigation on the authenticity and veracity of the Volcker report to the Manmohan Singh government." Mr Natwar Singh, who along with Jagat Singh were indicted by the Pathak panel for his role in securing oil contracts for his relative Andaleep Sehgal during the Saddam Hussein regime in 2001, complained that a malicious campaign had been mounted against him over the report of Paul Volcker.

"This has subjected me to a painful inquisition thereby questioning my honour and integrity and my political and diplomatic credentials acquired over my lifetime," the diplomat-turned-politician said.

The PMI report, released by Mr Natwar Singh, said " the Independent Inquiry Committee is headed by Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, whose inclination would be to discredit the opponents of US policy." The report further said "no evidence has been cited and no documentation given on most of the allegations made.... due process was not observed because none of the non-commercial entitites were asked, through PMI, to respond to the allegations." UNI SH RP HT1825

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