» News » No contact with PMO, Akalis, allegations baseless, says Chatwal

No contact with PMO, Akalis, allegations baseless, says Chatwal

By Lalit K Jha
March 18, 2011 13:09 IST
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Noted hotelier Sant Chatwal on Friday termed as baseless allegations that he was involved in the cash-for-vote scam dating back to the 2008 trust-vote against the United Progressive Aliance-I.

"During that time -- June, July and August -- I was never in India. I was only here (in the US). I had no communication with the Prime Minister's Office or with anybody including the Akali Dal. It (the WikiLeaks allegation) was the biggest surprise to me," Padma Bhushan awardee Chatwal said.

"As far as I am concerned, all records are available, no emails, no phones, office or residence, or cell, (I had) no connection with the Akali Dal as well," he told PTI.

"I do not have any interest in the internal politics (of India). Of course, I know all the political parties and leaders, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh, the Congress party. My sole purpose was to develop a relationship between India and the United States," he added.

"I took President Bill Clinton when (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee Saheb was the prime minister, the BJP was in power. I tirelessly worked for the India-US civilian nuclear deal when the Congress was in power," he said, adding that anyone can "verify and check" his non-involvement in the internal politics of India with the leaders of the Akali Dal.

"I absolutely had no communication with Akali Dal leaders during those days. I have absolutely nothing to do with these allegations. I have only one involvement, I want to develop and improve India-US ties. I worked day and night to work for the passage of the civilian nuclear deal. I lobbied intensively here, because I love India and want to it develop and bring both countries together," Chatwal said.

An American diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks has claimed that an aide of Congress leader Satish Sharma allegedly showed a US embassy employee "two chests containing cash" and said Rs 50-60 crore is ready for use as "pay-offs" to win the support of some MPs ahead of crucial vote of confidence in the UPA government over the Indo-US nuke deal.

Sharma reportedly told the US political counsellor that "PM Singh and others were trying to work on the Akali Dal(8 votes) through NRI businessman Sant Chatwal and others, but unfortunately it did not work out."
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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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