"I told him, `Thank you very much, but I will not accept the ticket'"

Says second vacant seat was kept for him till last Thursday Says he is unhappy with the slow pace of probe into Volcker Committee report

New Delhi: The former External Affairs Minister and senior Congress leader, K. Natwar Singh, on Friday said the Samajwadi Party had offered him a Rajya Sabha seat but he declined it.

"Amar Singh [SP general secretary] formally told me that his party wants to give me Rajya Sabha ticket and till last Thursday the second [vacant] seat was kept for me," he told India TV news channel.

"I told him, `Thank you very much, but I will not accept the ticket'. This is the truth. Rumours had been floated that [nomination of] Natwar Singh has been rejected by the Samajwadi Party," he was quoted as saying in a release by the TV channel.

To questions on the investigations by the Enforcement Directorate on the Volcker Report, he said he was "unhappy" because the ED was "leaking out information" and nothing came out against him so far. "I met the Prime Minister to ask why this thing is happening. For the past six months nothing has come out. Now, they even have an extension of further three months. I do not wish to die with these accusations. I want to come clear, I will walk out clean," the release quoted Mr. Singh as saying.

He said neither his name nor that of the Congress was in the documents. "It was at the behest of the U.S. intelligence chief in Iraq. I did not agree with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, so this probably displeased them," he was quoted as saying. PTI