Apex court halts probe against Natwar Singh

May 5th, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday suspended the Enforcement Directorate’s probe into External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh’s role in Iraq’s oil-for-food scam pending its verdict on a plea by him and his son that they be given access to certain documents that would prove their innocence. A bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi stopped the investigative agency from further investigating the matter on a petition by Singh and his son Jagat Singh demanding certain documents from the directorate that they believe would prove their innocence in the matter.

The father-son duo has come to the apex court challenging a Delhi High Court order of July 5 last year, which had ruled that they had no right to claim all the documents from the investigative agency.

Justice B.D. Ahmed of the Delhi High Court had held that various Supreme Court rulings on the issue of supply of documents to the accused persons stipulate that only those documents, which have been relied upon by an investigative agency for taking action against them, would be supplied to them.

Natwar Singh’s name had figured as alleged financial beneficiary in the United Nation’s Volcker Committee report on the world body’s programme of oil-for-food in Iraq which had become an international scandal with many influential people across the world allegedly befitting from it.

Singh had to quit the cabinet following the allegations and the government had constituted Justice Pathak Inquiry Authority to probe into the allegations levelled in the Volcker’s committee report.

Justice Pathak had also procured from the world body all its documents, which formed the basis of its report.

After Justice Pathak Inquiry Authority submitted its report to the government, the Enforcement Directorate launched the probe against, amongst others, Singh and his son for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act provisions by them as alleged beneficiaries of the oil-for-food scam in Iraq.

The father-son duo subsequently had moved the Delhi High Court demanding all the documents, related to Iraq’s oil-for-food scam, which had been procured by the government from the United Nations.

The duo had been seeking all the documents on the grounds that some of them could be beneficial to them in proving their innocence.

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