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Suleman Din in New York
In a strange twist to the 'Roger ' Rajesh Chugh political scandal, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's office called rediff.com, Monday afternoon, requesting a copy of the fax statement that was supposedly sent out by McGreevey's office on January 17, 2002.
The statement of that date, which had been faxed to some Indian media organisations including rediff.com, indicated that Roger Chugh had been named to the 'constitutionally mandated office' of NJ's Assistant Secretary of State.
Spokesperson for the Governor's office Tiffany Townsend said that there was, for now, no official comment. "Maybe once you send it (the fax statement) it will jog our memory, and we can clear up any discrepancies."
The request by the Governor's office for a copy of a fax that bears the Governor's seal, and was supposedly sent from that office, merely muddies further the waters surrounding Chugh.
The faxed press release had quoted McGreevey as stating, 'By naming Roger Chugh Assistant Secretary of State, we have ensured that the voices of Asian-Americans across New Jersey will be heard.'
However, when contacted by rediff.com earlier in the day, Mike Kinney, spokesman for the State Department, wasn't aware of the release, and said that they didn't have a copy of it.
Meanwhile, official sources indicate that it is Lizette Delgado, not Roger Chugh, who holds the position of Assistant Secretary of State. Delgado, incidentally, had fronted a successful program for McGreevey to obtain the Latino vote during his campaign for governor.
Chugh himself was named to the newly-created $84,000-a-year position of Assistant Commissioner -- a far cry from that of Assistant Secretary of State.
New Jersey's Star Ledger newspaper reported on March 28 that Chugh claimed on his web site, www.rogerchugh.com that he was the 'First Assistant Secretary of the State of New Jersey', a position New Jersey officials said does not exist.
Officials also clarified that the Assistant Secretary of the State is not a constitutional office.
Chugh was not available for comment.
Members of the Indian-American political community are, for now, reserving comment on the unfolding story, and waiting for word from McGreevey's office regarding the veracity of the press release.
"I'll be really sorry if it was not the governor's office that released the statement," said one Democrat, who wished not to be named. "If so ... God save Roger Chugh."
Incorrect claims lands Indian American in controversy
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