10 things you need to know about K Natwar Singh

• K Natwar Singh was removed as the minister for external affairs on 6 December 2005 when a controversy came to light over his alleged involvement in the UN Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. The Paul Volcker committee gave a damning report on 27 October 2005 that the minister and his son Jagat Singh were part of the scandal. "Allegedly, they, along with Jagat Singh's childhood friend Andaleeb Sehgal, were associated with a company called Hamdan Exports, which acted as an intermediary for illegal sales of oil to a Swiss firm named Masefield AG. In return, Masefield had to pay kickbacks, (termed "surcharges") partly to Saddam Hussein's regime and partly to Natwar Singh and others. It was alleged that such surcharges were Hussein's way of securing support from politicians around the world and that this influenced Natwar Singh to lobby against US policies in Iraq (in particular, US sanctions on Saddam Hussein). This controversy heated up when Anil Mathrani, then Indian Ambassador to Croatia, and a close aide to Natwar Singh alleged that Natwar Singh had used an official visit to Iraq to procure oil coupons for Jagat Singh from Saddam's regime." [Source: Wikipedia]

Natwar Singh. Image courtesy PIB

Natwar Singh. Image courtesy PIB

• Singh is a former Indian Foreign Service officer who served for 31 years after joining the cadre in 1953.

• He received the Padma Bhushan in 1984.

• Singh's political career began in 1984 when he joined the Congress and was elected to the eighth Lok Sabha from Bharatpur constituency in Rajasthan.

• In 1985, he became a minister of state in the ministries of steel, coal and mines and agriculture under prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Between 1986-89, Singh served as the minister of state for external affairs in the same government.

• He contested the general elections in 1989 only to lose from Mathura constituency.

• Singh went out of the Congress party along with Arjun Singh and ND Tiwari to form the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) after differences with then prime minister Narsimha Rao. He came back to the party and won the Bharatpur Lok Sabha seat in 1998 and became a part of the opposition benches.

• He became a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan in 2002 and joined the Manmohan Singh cabinet as minister for external affairs on 23 May.

• In 2008, Singh and his son joined Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party only to be expelled later in the same year for anti-party activities.

• His autobiography One Life is Not Enough will be released on August 2014. The book has already sent a chill down the spine of the Congress high command as it promises to be a tell-all narrative and threatens to put the Gandhis in an uncomfortable position.


Updated Date: Jul 31, 2014 15:55 PM

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