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Oil-for-food scam: A Chronology

Source: PTI
August 03, 2006 22:22 IST
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Following is the chronology of events since the Volcker Committee -- set up by the United Nations to inquire into the irregularities in the oil-for-food programme -- named former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh, the Congress party and several Indian companies as beneficiaries of the scandal:

  • Oct 27: Paul Volcker committee releases investigation report on alleged kickbacks in UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime.

  • Oct 29: Natwar Singh and Congress's name figure as a 'non-contractual beneficiary' in the list, media reports. Natwar and Congress deny charges. Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party demands Singh's resignation.

  • Oct 30: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gives clean chit to Natwar Singh. Key United Progressive Alliancer constituent Communist Party of India (Marxist) demands proper probe into allegations.

  • Oct 31: Natwar says he is ready to face probe.

  • Nov 1: Natwar refuses to resign from Union Cabinet.

  • Nov 2: Allegations surface against Natwar's son and Congress legislator Jagat Singh and his businessman-friend Andaleep Sehgal in connection with the alleged payoffs controversy. Jagat Singh refuses allegations.

  • Nov 3: BJP writes to the prime minister, asks him to drop Natwar and seeks investigation into the episode. Government hints at ordering probe. Masefield AG Co denies any connection with Natwar, Jagat Singh.

  • Nov 4: Pressure mounts of Natwar, government begins hectic consultations to find a way out. National Democratic Alliance decides to raise the issue with President A P J Abdul Kalam; BJP's announces countrywide protests for Natwar's removal. Volcker breaks silence -- says everyone named in report notified.

  • Nov 5: Natwar remains defiant, says he has support of the prime minister. Natwar denies Volcker's assertion that everyone was notified; says he was not informed. Government asks India's Permanent Representative to the UN Nirupam Sen to meet UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Paul Volcker to find out the truth. Dr Singh consults cabinet colleagues to decide on how to go about instituting a transparent probe.

  • Nov 6: PM holds talks with Sonia Gandhi, Natwar meets Manmohan Singh.  BJP demands CBI probe into Volcker report. Government appoints a Special Envoy to collect materials on the allegations made in the Volcker Committee report. Natwar rules out resignation.

  • Nov 7: Government orders judicial probe. Congress writes to Annan asking for all relevant document in Volcker report. NDA leaders meet President, seek Natwar's removal. It also seeks documents from UN to nail the Congress and Natwar. Later in the day, Natwar meets the prime minister after which he is made minister without portfolio.

  • Nov 11: Union cabinet approves setting up of inquiry authority into Volcker Committee allegations.

  • Nov 15: Congress president Sonia Gandhi says anyone found guilty will be punished.

  • Nov 18: Former Indian diplomat Virender Dayal to probe Volcker report findings.

  • Nov 26: 'They have no evidence against me,' says Natwar's son Jagat in a TV interview.

  • Dec 2: India's former envoy to Croatia Aniel Mathrani says Natwar and son were involved in Iraq pay-offs. His remarks rock Parliament. Natwar threatens legal action against Matherani.

  • Dec 3: Natwar meets PM, says he will not resign.

  • Dec 6: Natwar resigns from cabinet.

  • Dec 15: ED questions Jagat Singh.

  • Dec 17: ED questions Natwar over Oil-for-Food.

  • March 20: Justice Pathak Committee serves notices on Natwar.

  • April 27: Natwar blasts Congress on Volcker.

  • May 23: No business links with Jagat, says Andaleeb.

  • June 8: UPA wants to fix me and Jagat, says Natwar.

  • Aug 3: Pathak Inquiry Authority indicts Natwar and Jagat for helping persons close to them bag three Iraqi oil contracts.
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