Natwar Singh’s plea rejected in oil-for-food scam

March 28th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday rejected the plea of former external affairs minister Natwar Singh and his son Jagat Singh, seeking all documents in the multi-million dollar Iraqi oil-for-food scam that are with the government. A division bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Kailash Gambhir also vacated the stay on the proceedings, initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), against the two and asked them to appear before the directorate April 24.

The suspended senior Congress leader and his son approached the court when the ED refused to provide them 83 documents brought by then India’s special envoy Virender Dayal from the US on the oil-for-food scam in 2005.

The government earlier supplied 22 documents to Singh, which the ED had relied upon while proceeding against them in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violation case.

Justifying the government decision, the bench said: “The adjudicating authority was correct in declining its request for supply of documents not relied upon (the 83 documents demanded).”

The bench also turned down their plea to be given personal hearing before any proceedings are initiated against them under FEMA Act, saying their demands were unsupported by law.

In August last year, the bench reserved its judgement after the father and son challenged the ED’s denial of providing them the documents.

Jagat Singh, his business associate Andaleep Sehgal, his father Suman Sehgal, businessman Vijay Dhar, his son Vikas Dhar, Youth Congress leader Jameel Zaidi and Asad Khan were allegedly involved in the ‘cash for oil scam’ during the Saddam Hussain regime in Iraq.

The ED was inquiring into the benefits derived by Indians in the scam brought out by the Volcker Committee report of the United Nations. It is alleged that the suspects had earned a handsome commission by selling petroleum products given on vouchers by deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussain under the UN’s oil-for-food programme between 1996 and 2003.

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