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Indian envoy to have discussions with Volcker
November 18, 2005 20:53 IST
India's special envoy to the United Nations Virendra Dayal will have discussions with Paul Volcker, head of the UN-appointed probe panel on oil-for-food scam, and top officials of world body over the next few days to seek information and documents on the basis of which Union Minister K Natwar Singh and Congress were named beneficiaries of the Iraqi programme. Dayal, who arrived here yesterday, is accompanied by four officials including from the Enforcement Directorate, to assist him in identifying the specific information the Indian investigating agencies are seeking.
Indian diplomats and officials at the Indian mission to the United Nations were so tightlipped about the visit that they even declined to confirm that Dayal has arrived in New York, saying they have no information on that.
"He might have come on his own," one official said when told that Dayal was in fact in New York. The reason for the unusual secrecy was unclear but it appeared they want to keep the press away from him at least until he had had discussions with Volcker, the Chairman of the Independent Inquiry Committee.
Sources said the officials accompanying Dayal could have discussions with their counterparts in the Volcker Committee depending on the indications that Dayal gets from Volcker. "Ultimately, the information would be given by the officials at the Committee depending on guidelines that Volcker gives," one official said. In this context, the possibility of Dayal or officials meeting other members of the Committee is not being ruled out.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is touring quake-hit Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, will be back either on Monday or Tuesday and only after that Dayal, who former Under Secretary General of the world body, would meet him. But since the documents are still with the committee, the Indian investigators would have deal to with it at least in the initial stages.
But the contacts with United Nations officials are important as the world body is expected to take possession of most of the documents by the end of the year when the Committee's extended term expires. During the meeting with India's UN Ambassador Nirupam Sen, Volcker had said that the Indian authorities would have to seek specific information for a response from the committee.
The officials accompanying Dayal could help fine-tune the specifics of the information that the Indian government is seeking.