Obama’s Indian American info czar back at job

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : President Barack Obama’s Indian-American info czar Vivek Kundra, who had taken leave after an FBI raid on his former office, has returned to work after being informed that he is not a “target of investigation.”

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“Mr. Kundra has been informed that he is neither a subject nor a target of the investigation, and has been reinstated,” Assistant White House Press Secretary Nick Shapiro told CNN in an e-mail Tuesday.

Kundra went on leave after federal agents arrested an Indian-American businessman and a Washington DC government official on corruption charges last week and searched the offices of the capital city’s chief technology officer as part of a corruption probe.

The raid came just a week after Kundra, former director of the agency responsible for overseeing the city’s telecommunications infrastructure, was named as the White House chief information officer.

But CNN cited a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation as saying last week that Kundra is not involved in the case.

Yusuf Acar, a contracting officer for Washington’s city government, and Sushil Bansal, a former city employee, are accused of swindling the city out of several million dollars by inflating purchase orders and billing the city for work by “ghost” employees of Bansal’s companies.

Both are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering, while Acar faces separate charges of wire fraud and conflict of interest, according to court papers.

At the court hearing last week, Acar was ordered held without bond pending a hearing. Prosecutors said $70,000 in cash was found during a search of Acar’s Washington home and that he posed a serious flight risk.

Bansal of Dunn Loring, Virginia, was released but was ordered not to conduct overseas financial transactions or leave the Washington metropolitan area.

Bansal is due back in court April 21, and prosecutors said they were hopeful that a plea agreement could be reached in his case.