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Suspended Natwar lashes out at "weak" PM

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) A hurt and bitter K Natwar Singh today lashed out at Dr Manmohan Singh describing him as a "weak Prime Minister who has no back bone," following his suspension from the Congress Party for "misusing" his post in the Iraqi oil for food scam.

"I am angry and deeply disappointed over my suspension without taking my point of view ," a visibly upset Mr Natwar Singh told CNN-IBN television news channel in his first interview after the action of the Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) of the Congress Party late last night.

"I feel let down, hurt and bitter," the former External Affairs Minister told his interviewer Karan Thapar, mincing no words to criticise the Prime Minister for not showing the "courage to stand up and speak in my favour." Mr Natwar Singh, a diplomat-turned-politician who had openly come out against the Prime Minister on the Indo-US nuclear deal, alleged that Dr Singh knew nothing about foreign policy. "I helped him with foreign policy," he claimed.

He said his letter of January 30, 2001 addressed to the Iraqi Oil Minister, cited in the Pathak Inquiry Authority report, did have his signature but the content and the language were not his.

Mr Natwar Singh said the three letters cited by the Authority did not have any reference to oil, coupon, voucher or contract. "Is writing a letter in any way incriminating?" he asked.

When the interviewer pointed out that "anything they did for Andaleep Sehgal is for you," he retorted, "Why should they oblige me?" He said Andaleep Sehgal, the cousin of his son Jagat Singh, went to Iraq for a food and not oil deal.

Mr Natwar Singh said the Pathak Authority had "deliberately" overlooked the affidavit and statement of Sehgal.

He also came down heavily on Mr Justice (rtd.) R S Pathak, who inquired into the role of Mr Natwar Singh who was named as a non-contractual beneficiary in the oil for food programme during the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in 2001, for his "totally biased report." "It was a totally biased report by a gentleman who hung around me to seek help to get into the International Court of Justice at the Hague," he said in a personal attack on Mr Pathak.

Asked when this incident took place, he said he was at that time a Minister of State in the Rajiv Gandhi government.

UNI SH NK RS1333

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