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Ajit Singh’s son-in-law caught in US Iran sting

Posted by on March 4, 2011 0 Comment

Washington, March 4 (IANS) Vikramaditya Singh, the son-in-law of India’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh, has been fined $100,000 and sentenced to three years’ probation by a US district court for allegedly trying to sell prohibited items to Iran.

The first six months of that probation will be in home confinement for the 34-year-old Arizona-based electronics dealer, according to Delaware online news website.

Singh admitted guilt in November to one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The case against Singh came as a direct result of a massive sting operation – involving Delaware and Philadelphia-based federal authorities – that resulted in the arrest of Iranian arms merchant Amir Ardebili in the Republic of Georgia in 2007.

Investigators found e-mails on Ardebili’s computer from Singh involving negotiations to buy items that could not be sold to Iran under US law and had military applications, including digital microwave radios.

An undercover agent took over posing as an agent for Iran, and eventually, Singh arranged for two shipments for approximately $15,900 to Slovenia and Denmark, with the stated intention that this was a ruse and that the radios would then be shipped on to Iran.

Prosecutors said Singh was fully aware of the illegal nature of the sales and shipments.

Assistant US Attorney Robert F. Kravetz, in a sentencing memo, told the court that Singh attempted “to rationalise his conduct by telling the agent that what his customers did with his products were not his concern”.

First Assistant US Attorney David Weiss said this prosecution is “one of many” stemming from the arrest of Ardebili, who was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2009.

“This case demonstrates the great lengths individuals motivated by the dollar will go, including the circumvention of sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge with the Department of Homeland Security.

The sentence by Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet in Wilminton Tuesday was significantly below federal sentencing guidelines of approximately four years of incarceration, below the 18 months that prosecutors were asking for and below even the defence request of one year and one day in prison, the website said.

In a sentencing memo, defence attorney Danny Onoranto asked for mercy based on Singh’s lack of a criminal record, his full acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

He also argued that Singh should be treated more leniently because he was involved in the sale of radios, not a weapons system or something more demonstrably dangerous.

Finally, he wrote that Singh, a native of India who has permanent resident status in the US, faces possible deportation as a result of his conviction.

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