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Sehgal denies Iraq deals

New Delhi, Nov. 6: Enforcement directorate officials today searched the residence and business premises of Andaleeb Sehgal, a close friend of external affairs minister Natwar Singh’s son Jagat Singh.

Sehgal, however, denied ever having had any business dealings with the Saddam Hussein government.

The name of Sehgal’s company, Hamadan Exports, appears in the Volcker report on the UN-run oil-for-food scheme as the entity that paid Saddam’s government kickbacks in the oil contracts allegedly allotted to Natwar and the Congress.

Sehgal, who alleged that the premises were searched without any notice or warrant when he was out of town, denied all allegations.

“I did not get any contract from the Iraq government for the sale of oil nor was any contract given to Hamadan Exports,” he said in a statement.

“I have had no business dealings with either the Congress Party or Natwar Singh or his son Jagat Singh.”

In the Volcker report, Hamadan stands accused of depositing “surcharge”, a euphemism for kickback, in Jordan National Bank.

“It is absolutely incredible, outrageous and untrue that I made or could have made a deposit of some amount in Jordan National Bank.”

Sehgal said he had informed the directorate in writing that he was ready to cooperate in a probe.

He admitted having made some trips to Iraq in 2001, but said he was only exploring the possibility of exporting foodstuff.

“None of these trips was either arranged by the Congress Party nor were they at the instance of any member of the Congress Party, including Natwar Singh or Jagat Singh.”

He said he was not successful in booking a contract.

“I received no payment either in my name or in the name of my firm Hamadan Exports or in the name of any other company in relation to the sale of foodstuff to Iraq.”

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