Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Volker Committee - The Inquiry at Home, Getting to the Root?

see previous

Clean hands ?

The Inquiry Committee of Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak should have commenced its work by now. According to the Government, he has reportedly got whatever authority he needed in order to complete its task. Thankfully, the Committee has not be told to inquire into the commercial dealings on the supply side but only asked to confine to the transactions where the Congress Party and its senior member are mentioned. Extending the inquiry to the commercial entities would have surely meant an exhaustive and fruitless exercise of going on a wild goose chase and diluting the importance of the principal transactions.

In the meantime, certain other actions being taken by other Government authorities under the Finance Ministry have been causing some ripples. On the face of it, the authorities concerned are bound to investigate into matters where there are suspected violations of the laws for the enforcement of which they are responsible. Therefore, the agencies are doing only what is expected of them.

What is raising eyebrows is the intensity with which the actions are being pursued and there is a clear likelihood that extending the investigations logically, could lead to some embarrassment for Mr. Natwar Singh and from which the Party itself would not be immune. And despite the Government’s avowed intention to get to the root of the matter, there is something more to this than meets the eye. Only time will tell what the motives are.

As to the possibility of The Inquiry Committee securing information and documents either by the efforts of Mr. Dayal or directly by itself, the chances indeed appear to be slim. The Volker Committee is in a hurry to wind up and it is unlikely that it will have the time to give due attention to any queries and requests that the Inquiry Committee may forward to it. Then there are important legal hurdles that may have to be overcome before the data and documents fully or in part can be made available to the Pathak Committee in a manner that they can be used as evidence. For one, much depends on the terms and conditions of the MOU under which the details upon which the Volker Committee has relied, were obtained from the Supreme Board of Audit of Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority. Second, as far as testifying witnesses are concerned, it would depend also on the conditions under which they agreed to testify. Thirdly, the Volker Committee is known to have come into conflict even with the U.S. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, by consistently refusing to share all information and key documents with the U.S. Committee on various grounds.

All in all, it seems to be an uphill task to secure any data, documents or information that may have value, especially evidentiary value, from the Volker Committee. But the Indian people are used to keeping their fingers crossed and waiting....


At November 14, 2005, Anonymous pandian said...

The left parties while they are right about the questionable decisions of UN on oil pricing etc., these arguments should not have the effect of diverting attention from the issue of the two transactions of Congress.

At November 15, 2005, Anonymous r. Chhabria said...

Now that Congress President has openly said that whosoever is guilty shall be punished it means that the party is safe.


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