Mr. Chairman, Sir, this morning, some hon. Members of the House wanted me to make a statement on a certain interview granted to a TV channel by the Indian Ambassador to Croatia. I have been informed that he has made certain statements regarding the alleged involvement of certain individuals in the matter which is currently under inquiry by the Justice Pathak Inquiry Authority as part of its mandate to inquire into certain transactions mentioned in the Volcker Committee report.
The same matter is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. Ever since the first mention was made of the involvement of certain Indian entities and individuals in the Volcker Committee report as non-contractual beneficiaries in the Iraq Oil-for-Food programme, the Government has been firm, consistent and clear in its stand on the matter. We had said that the references, as they are found in the Volcker Committee's report, are 'unverified references.' We had said that we are determined to go to the root of the matter and establish the truth or otherwise of these references. We stand by that position even now.
In order to unearth the facts, we promptly appointed Mr. Justice R.S. Pathak to inquire into the two specific contracts which are of relevance and gave him full powers, in the manner he himself desired, to complete his inquiry speedily and effectively. We appointed Shri Virendra Dayal as a Special Envoy to gather relevant materials, and as the Finance Minister informed this august House, he has been doing his work most expeditiously and, in a space of 10 days, obtained important documents and materials.
As for the statements made today -- and I am told are likely to be published in a magazine later -- they certainly relate to the transactions under investigation. Statements have been made about Shri Natwar Singh and other individuals. These are all a matter of concern.The Enforcement Directorate will take cognizance of the recent statements attributed to the Indian Ambassador to Croatia and pursue its investigations.
The Enforcement Directorate has assured the Government that their investigations are proceeding on the right track and they would be able to establish the facts expeditiously. We should not pre-judge the final outcome of the investigation or pre-empt the findings that may be given by the Justice R.S. Pathak Inquiry Authority. For us in the Government, truth is of utmost importance. We are determined that truth must prevail in this matter. Our Government believes in maintaining high standards of probity and transparency in public life and I can assure the House that no one who is guilty will go unpunished.