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Volcker probe nears completion

Source: PTI
April 16, 2006 16:05 IST
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Inquiry into the Volcker allegations is expected to pick momentum with government's Special Envoy Virendra Dayal obtaining most of the documents related to the Indian entities, including former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, named in the United Nations report as non-contractual beneficiaries of the oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

Dayal is on the verge of completing his task, five months after being assigned to collect documents related to Volcker allegations about the Iraq payoffs.

"My work is almost complete. A little bit remains which I hope to complete soon," Dayal told PTI in New Delhi.

Refusing to discuss details, he said the documents had been obtained from the United Nations, Iraq and Jordan, and these related to the Masefield company. Masefield, named in the Volcker report of having lifted the oil earmarked for Indian entities, is linked to Hamadaan Exports of Andaleeb Sehgal who is accused of passing on the kickbacks to Natwar Singh and Congress Party. Both have denied the charge.

The papers have been handed over to the Enforcement Directorate, which is conducting investigation into the allegations against Natwar, the Congress party and some Indian companies.

The documents, running into over 1,100 pages besides a CD containing material running into 22,000 pages, were collected from various places, including Iraq's State Oil Marketing company.

Details related to financial transactions, providing core material on whose basis the Enforcement Directorate can proceed, was acquired from Jordan. The Indian entities are alleged to have routed the kickbacks through Jordanian banks.

Seventy-year-old Dayal, a former Chef de Cabinet of the then UN Secretary General Pervez de Cullar, was named on November 7 as special envoy to 'seek, gather, receive and acknowledge' material relevant to the Indian entities named in the Volcker Committee report.

He was granted full power and authority of the government to execute the responsibilities entrusted to him. His appointment was for an initial term of three months or until the completion of his task, whichever is earlier. Dayal, who went once to Iraq and twice to New York to obtain the papers, said he had received exemplary cooperation from the authorities everywhere.

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