NRIs

Padam Bhusan awardee Chatwal gets three-year probation for violations of poll laws

December 21, 2014 08:45 AM
Sant Singh Chatwal with then PM Manmohan Singh who awarded him Padma bhusan

Chicago, Dec. 20: Seventy-year-old New York hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal whom india honoured by conferring on him Padma Bhushan gets three year probation and a US dollar 500,000 fine on charges of illegally donating thousands of dollars to political campaigns. 

Chicago, Dec. 20: Seventy-year-old Newyork hotlier Sant Singh Chatwal whom india honoured by conferring on him Padma Bhushan gets three year probation and a US dollar 500,000 fine on charges of illegally donating thousands of dollars to political campaigns.

US District Judge Israel Leo Glasser of Eastern District of New York federal court termed the letters of support for Chatwal, from current and former employees, members of the business community and charitable organisations, as "unusual", saying it is "quite impressive" that about 272 people and organisations have written about Chatwal's philanthropy initiatives and a lifetime of helping others in need.

Indian community in Noth america was cruriously waiting for the judgement in Chatwal's fund raising fraud case. He was very popular with Clintons and had been raising election funds for both of them. First for the president Bill clinton and then his wife Secretary of State Henry Clonton. However, the investigators did not bring in any reference to both benifiseries of Chatwal's fund raising-Bill clinton and Henry Clinton.

Rejecting the prosecution's demand for a jail term, a federal judge here has sentenced Chatwal to three years probation as his

lawyers asked the court to weigh his age and "lifetime of contribution" to others and the impact the imprisonment would have on his family and community in sentencing him.

In court papers, they had requested that a sentence of probation with substantial community service be imposed on Chatwal to enable him to make amends by continuing to serve others and take care of his sons -- Vivek and Vikram -- who depend on him to an "exceptional degree" due to their medical disabilities. 

US District Judge Israel Leo Glasser of Eastern District of New York federal court termed the letters of support for Chatwal, from current and former employees, members of the business community and charitable organisations, as "unusual", saying it is "quite impressive" that about 272 people and organisations have written about Chatwal's philanthropy initiatives and a lifetime of helping others in need.

Chatwal, a major fundraiser for 2012 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, had pleaded guilty in April this year to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by making more than USD 180,000 in campaign donations to three candidates through straw donors and to witness tampering.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to impose a 12-18 months sentence on Chatwal that would serve as a "deterrent" to others.

Chatwal’s team of councellors made a plea in the court papers, as they had requested that a sentence of probation with substantial community service be imposed on Chatwal to enable him to make amends by continuing to serve others and take care of his sons, Vivek and Vikram, who depend on him to an "exceptional degree" due to their medical disabilities. 

Chatwal, who was accompanied by his wife and son Vikram along with a lagre number of family friends, repeatedly offered apologies to the judge and said “he has no excuse for his behavior”.

"I stand here with a heavy heart. I apologise for what I did to my family. I have let them down terribly," Chatwal said. He was reading out from a statement before the judge announced the verdict on Thursday.

Chatwal said he had been humbled by the experience and cannot apologise enough for his conduct, expressing his gratefulness for the chance to be able to admit his guilt.

"I love this country. I'm so sorry that I broke its laws. I was wrong to try to get around the campaign laws and interfere with the investigation," chatwal emphasized before the court.

After the sentencing hearing, Chatwal and his family members expressed happiness over the  the verdict.

"The judicial system in this country is very fair," he said adding that he has been working to strengthen the Indo-US relations and people to people contact and will continue to do so.

 

 

 

 

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