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April 25, 2014

India Post

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Sant Chatwal pleads guilty to violating US laws NEW YORK: Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal has pleaded guilty at a court here to violating federal election laws by using straw donors to secretly funnel money to political campaigns and will pay a million dollars to the US as part of his plea agreement. "Chatwal admitted that he used straw donors to secretly funnel money to political campaigns so

tion Campaign Act (the 'Election Act') by making more than USD 180,000 in federal campaign donations to three candidates through straw donors who were reimbursed and to witness tampering. There is no allegation that the candidates participated in, or were aware of, Chatwal's scheme, federal prosecutors said. As part of his plea agreement with the government, he agreed

The Washington Post said Chatwal faces a maximum of nearly six years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31. He is free on a USD 750,000 bond secured by property in Manhattan.A spokesman for Chatwal said he "deeply regrets his actions that he could gain access to the politicians, and he coerced another person to hide his crime," said acting US Assistant Attorney General David O'Neil. Chatwal, 70, had raised at least USD 100,000 for former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. He pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York to conspiring to violate the Federal Elec-

to forfeit one million dollars to the US. "Chatwal went to great lengths to undermine both election laws and our system of justice. Today's guilty plea shows our vigilance and determination to prosecute those who damage the integrity of elections by masking the true sources of campaign contributions," O'Neil said. "Chatwal's scheme sought to subvert the very purpose of the

Election Act. Chatwal then rolled the dice to stymie the government's investigation, thinking he could corruptly convince witnesses to his federal election crimes to stay silent. That gamble did not pay off," said US Attorney Loretta Lynch. The Washington Post said Chatwal faces a maximum of nearly six years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31. He is free on a USD 750,000 bond secured by property in Manhattan. A spokesman for Chatwal said he "deeply regrets his actions and accepts full responsibility for the consequences." Chatwal was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2010 for his role in the historic India-US civilian nuclear deal. He heads the chain of the upscale Hampshire Hotels. Lynch said Chatwal's scheme sought to subvert the very purpose of the Election Act. "Today's conviction sends a clear message that this office is committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting individuals who are responsible for committing crimes in connection with federal campaign donations and witness tampering," Lynch said. "Attempting to buy elections through illegal campaign contri-

Mobile radiation doesn't cause cancer: Mukherjee NEW DELHI: Terming cancer as a detective story, renowned oncologist and Pulitzer award winner Sidharth Mukherjee has said that there is no prevalent evidence that radiations from cellphones and mobile towers cause cancer. "I think preponderance of evidence shows there is no link," Mukherjee said when asked if there is a link between cancer and EMF radiations from cellphones and mobile tower. There have been fears among people that radiations from mobile towers cause cancer and have other ill effects on health. In a bid to check radiation threat, the government has put guidelines in place which say the specific absorption rate (SAR), a measure of radiation, on mobile phones sold in India should not exceed 1.6 watt/kg averaged over a mass of 1 gram of human tissue. Mobile tower radiation norms in India have been set at one-tenth of the level that most countries follow. A World Health Organization (WHO) panel had added

cellphones to a list of things that are "possible carcinogenic". Carcinogen can be defined as an agent which is directly involved in causing cancer. Mukherjee, who has been conferred a Padma Shri award, said

he oncologist said if we lump everything into the category of "potentially carcinogenic", from toxic potatoes to McCarthy's grave, then our scientific language around cancer begins to degenerate he has written to WHO for downgrading the risk of cellphone radiation as a possible carcinogen. He, however, added it that does not mean studies should not be carried out. "WHO must downgrade the

risk of cellphone radiation as a possible carcinogen. However, that does not mean studies should not be carried on but as of now evidence does not exist pending further investigation," he said. The oncologist said if we lump everything into the category of "potentially carcinogenic", from toxic potatoes to McCarthy's grave, then our scientific language around cancer begins to degenerate. On tower radiation, he said there is not too much known about it but studies have shown a largely negative relation. "Cancer is like a detective story, you solve it using not one piece of evidence but you combine pieces of evidence in order to solve the puzzle," he added. Mukherjee, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2010 book called 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer' is already working on his new book. "I wouldn't talk much about the book but I am in the middle of writing the next book called the 'History of a Gene' as a twentieth century idea," he said. -PTI

butions is unacceptable. It is also illegal," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. Internal Revenue Service's Chief Richard Weber said Chatwal admitted his actions were de-

without campaign contributions, "nobody will even talk to you...That's the only way to buy them, get into the system? What, what else is there? That's the only thing."

Sant Singh Chatwal

signed to circumvent the Election Act. The evidence against Chatwal includes an October 2010 recorded conversation between Chatwal and a business associate who became an informant, in which Chatwal underscored his view as to the importance of political campaign contributions, stating that

According to court filings, Chatwal sought to obstruct the grand jury investigation into his Election Act scheme by tampering with a witness, a person whose business performed construction work for Chatwal and Chatwal's companies and who had recruited straw donors at Chatwal's direction. -PTI

Democrats return Chatwal's campaign funds NEW YORK: Several top Democratic leaders in the US are returning the funds collected by Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal in the wake of his guilty plea to federal prosecutors for making thousands of dollars in illegal donations to political campaigns through "straw donors". New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign said it will return more than USD 15,000 in cash raised by Chatwal, 70, "Yes, we are returning all funds given or raised by Chatwal," Jonathan Rosen, who worked for de Blasio's campaign, told the New York Observer. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senator Mark Warner are also returning the money by donating to charity funds tied to Chatwal who heads the chain of the upscale Hampshire Hotels. Chatwal had appeared before United States District Judge I Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of New York and pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Federal Election Campaign

Act by making more than USD 180,000 in federal campaign donations to three candidates through straw donors who were reimbursed and to witness tampering. While the identities of the candidates for whom the campaign donations were made were not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal had quoted a lawenforcement official as saying that the donations were made to the political campaigns of former US Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd and former Florida Representative Kendrick Meek. There is no allegation that the candidates took part in, or were aware of, Chatwal's scheme, federal prosecutors said. Chatwal, who has very close to the Clintons and to senior US Senator Harry Reid, was also a key supporter of de Blasio, serving on the host committee of at least one of the candidate's fund-raisers and bundling thousands of dollars on his behalf, the New York Observer said.-PTI

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