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Pathak report indicts former Indian envoy to Croatia

Source: PTI
August 07, 2006 20:01 IST
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Former Indian ambassador to Croatia Anil Mathrani was present in meetings with Iraqi authorities that discussed the award of oil contracts to people close to former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh, the R S Pathak Authority report has said.

Mathrani had distanced himself from Natwar following the revelations of the Volcker committee, set up by the United Nations to probe into irregularities in the Iraq oil-for-food programme.

The report said Mathrani along with Natwar Singh's son Jagat and his business partner Andaleeb Sehgal went to the building of State Oil Marketing Organisation in Baghdad to get a briefing on how oil was allocated to companies under oil-for-food programme.

The visit, it said, was made a day after Natwar Singh, Jagat Singh and Andaleeb Sehgal met the Iraqi oil minister.

The presence of Mathrani at the SOMO office was confirmed by R Dayakar, who was at that time India's envoy to Iraq, said the report tabled in Parliament on Monday.

"At the meeting, the Indian members were explained the process and procedures to be followed in relation to the UN approved oil-for-food programme," the report said.

It said Dayakar, in his deposition, had stated that the SOMO officials were probably under the impression that the Congress delegation was an official delegation, as in Iraq at that point of time there was no distinction between the government and the political party.

"More importantly, Dayakar stated that SOMO's executive director had mentioned that they had instructions from top officials to receive the Indian delegation," the report said.

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