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Bera’s father sentenced to prison for funneling money to his son’s campaigns

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Babulal Bera, the father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), leaves the federal courthouse with attorney Edward Loya Jr., right, on May 10 in Sacramento.

Babulal Bera, the father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), leaves the federal courthouse with attorney Edward Loya Jr., right, on May 10 in Sacramento.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Babulal Bera, a retired chemical engineer who emigrated from India and watched his oldest son win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, was sentenced Thursday to a federal prison term of one year and one day for organizing a money-laundering scheme that helped fund two of his son’s campaigns.

Defense attorneys for the 83-year-old man argued the sentence was too severe, but U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley disagreed, calling it an appropriate punishment.

“The defendant’s efforts were calculated,” the judge said during the sentencing hearing in Sacramento. “This is more than just a naive person who doesn’t know how elections work.”

Rep. Ami Bera was not in the courtroom to witness his father convicted of two counts of of federal campaign finance violations. The two-term democrat from Elk Grove denied knowing anything about the scheme and has expressed disappointment in his father’s actions.

“This is one of the most difficult moments my family has ever experienced,” Bera, who is currently seeking re-election, said in a written statement. “Of course I’m absolutely devastated and heartbroken for how today’s decision will impact our entire family. But my father’s accepted what he did was wrong, he’s taken responsibility and I love him more than words can express.”

Earlier at the DNC Bera provided an exclusive interview to Diya TV and discussed his father’s impending sentencing.

The elder Bera provided no comment to reporters as he exited the courthouse in downtown Sacramento. Although he had previously used the services of an interpreter in the courtroom, Thursday Bera addressed the judge himself in English. “No one else knows my wife like I do. She means everything to me,” he said shaking his head as he pleaded with the court to allow him to remain by her side. “I cannot live without her, and she cannot live without me.”

The sentence rendered was much lighter than what federal regulations normally call for — three years — but did include a fine of $100,200. He can become eligible for release after 10 months, and must surrender himself to federal authorities within 90 days to begin serving his time.

Defense attorneys asked the judge to take into consideration the ages of him and his wife, describing the marriage between the two as “a deeply intertwined dependency between a married couple in their twilight years.”

While Judge Nunley acknowledged Bera’s age would make a prison term more difficult to serve, she also said the sentence addressed the severity of his actions and was sufficiently serious to deter others from committing similar crimes.

Prosecutors opined that Bera engaged in an elaborate operation of soliciting donations from friends and family for his son’s first two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012. In all, prosecutors said they were able to track at least $260,000 in illegal contributions funneled through donors but secretly paid by the elder Bera through multiple bank accounts used to further cover his tracks.

Bera has remained a primary target of Republicans in one of California’s swing districts, having narrowly won re-election in 2014. His challenger in November’s general election, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, is seeking to link the congressman to his father’s money laundering conviction. On Tuesday, Jones proposed tightening federal campaign finance laws to make it harder for money to be funneled from one donor to another.

“More has to be done to root corruption out of politics and expose conflicts,” Jones said in a statement.

Prosecutors immediately dismissed the idea that the elder Bera got caught up in the excitement of helping his son achieve a longtime dream.

“He carried on these acts month after month, year after year, and over the course of two campaigns,” they wrote in court documents. “He cannot explain away his actions as the result of runaway emotions.”

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Indiaspora releases 2021 government leaders list featuring over 200 members of Indian diaspora

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Indiaspora Releases 2021 Government Leaders List | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Nonprofit Indiaspora released their list recognizing more than 200 members of the Indian diaspora who are leaders in their countries’ governments. The leaders span the globe, with more than 60 holding Cabinet-level positions.

More than 32 million people of Indian origin live outside of India, the largest diaspora population in the world.

After entertaining pitches from a number of Indian states, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa declared Tesla will set up its Indian production in his state. An electric vehicle pioneer, analysts forecast India could generate 5% of Tesla’s revenue in the next 5 years.

The late Indian American scientist Narinder Singh Kapany, the father of fiber optics, received a posthumous Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest award. Singh died last year at the age of 94.

An Indian physicist’s revolutionary Black Hole research is turning 50 years old. C.V. Vishveshwara died in 2017, but his work lives on and continues to be honored. The Indian Association for General Relativity and Gravitation and The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences held an event in India to discuss the implications of Vishveshwara’s breakthrough. And now colleagues in his field around the world continue to be astounded at his research. Building off the work of Albert Einstein, Vishveshwara found that Black Holes had a structure, and if you banged on it, would vibrate like a bell. He first published this finding in the science journal “Nature.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Search continues for 12 yr old Arunay Pruthi lost at sea.

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One Month Since Arunay Pruthi’s Loss At Sea | Diya TV News

FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV)  — It’s been a month since 12 year old Arunay Pruthi disappeared off the California coast. And while his family and their Fremont neighbors are devastated by his apparent loss, they continue to hold out hope they will find out what happened to the 7th grader. Pruthi was caught by dangerous surf at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay and his father said he just drifted away. Despite hundreds of volunteers scouring the area, Pruthi hasn’t been seen since. There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to his discovery.

31 year old Ashwani Jain announced he’s running to become Maryland’s next governor. The Democrat recently ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery, Maryland City Council. He’s also a former Obama administration official.

Sean Desai made history, as he was named the Chicago Bears new defensive coordinator, making him the first Indian American ever to receive a coordinator job in the NFL. The 37 year old served as an assistant coach for several years before this promotion. Desai started his coaching career at Temple University, where he also received a doctorate in educational administration.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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UN: Avoid Pakistani airlines over fake pilot licence scandal

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UN: Avoid Pakistani Airlines Over Fake Pilot Scandal | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA (Diya TV) — The United Nations is telling its staff and partner agencies to avoid flying on all Pakistani airlines as the country continues to deal with a fake pilot license scandal. The warning means UN staff in Pakistan will be unable to fly internationally or domestically with these airlines, creating a travel nightmare.

The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers is increasing its stake in soccer club Leeds United to 37 percent. And Indian American Paraag Marathe has been tapped to become Vice Chairman of the English Premier League team. Marathe will lead day to day operations and be more involved in the decision making process. The executive is still the 49ers Vice President of Football Operations, essentially the right hand man to owner Jed York.

As more foreign companies turn their backs on the United States, China and India are taking advantage. Direct investment in the US by overseas companies plummeted 49 percent last year according to a recent study. China’s grew by four percent to $163 billion. In India, foreign direct investment skyrocketed 13 percent last year to $57 billion. Policies allowing more foreign companies like Ikea and Uniqlo to open stores and increasing the country’s manufacturing base are some of the reasons for this growth.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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