CIC to issue notices to ED in oil-for-food scam



New Delhi: The Central Information Commission is all set to issue notices to the Enforcement Directorate to produce files related to the oil-for-food scam which led to the ouster of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh from the Cabinet.

The CIC's step comes two years after the Supreme Court had rejected the plea of ED challenging the order of the then Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directing it to produce files for perusal before deciding on its disclosure.

The case could not proceed because of the changes in the post of Chief Information Commissioners, CIC sources said.

After the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, he immediately ordered his staff to issue notices in this regard which may be sent in the coming week, they said.

The CIC had directed the Enforcement Directorate, an exempted organisation under the RTI Act, to produce the file of the probe into the scam for its perusal to decide on its disclosure under the Act.

"In our view, the impugned order does not suffer from any patent legal infirmity requiring interference under Article 136 of the Constitution," the Supreme Court had said on the CIC directions and asked the ED to produce all relevant material before the transparency panel.

The case relates to application filed by RTI applicant Arun Agrawal who had sought the entire file containing note sheets relating to the report of Virendra Dayal, appointed by the government as special envoy to coordinate with UN officials on the Paul Volcker Committee report.

The Paul Volcker Committee was set up by the United Nations in April, 2004 to probe corruption and fraud in its oil-for-food Programme in Iraq, in which name of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh also allegedly figured as a beneficiary.

PTI