Economy

WikiLeaks allegations baseless, says Sant Chatwal

PTI Washington | Updated on March 18, 2011 Published on March 18, 2011

Noted hotelier Sant Chatwal has termed as baseless allegations that he was involved in the cash-for-vote scam dating back to the 2008 trust-vote against UPA-1.

“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 Akali Dal. It (the WikiLeak allegation) was the biggest surprise to me,” the Padma Bhushan awardee, Mr Chatwal, said.

“As far as I am concerned, all records are available, no e-mails, 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 relationship between India and the United States,” he added.

“I took Bill Clinton when (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee Saheb was the Prime Minister, 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 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,” Mr Chatwal said.

An American diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks has claimed that an aide of Congress leader Mr 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 the crucial vote of confidence in the UPA Government over the Indo-US nuke deal.

Mr 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.”

Published on March 18, 2011
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