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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Grewal declines to say if new Edison mailer added to existing probe

By Nikita Biryukov, June 01 2021 1:43 pm

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declined to say whether a new race-baiting campaign mailer in Edison has been rolled into an existing state investigation into a racist flyer sent to township residents in 2017.

Grewal cited a policy that bars comment on active investigation when declining to comment.

The newest mailer, paid for by former Republican Woodcliff Lake Councilman Corrado Belgiovine, touted a prominent Pakistani community leader’s endorsement of Councilman Sam Joshi, who is running for mayor against Edison Democratic Municipal Chairman Mahesh Bhagia, whom Belgiovine told the New Jersey Globe he supports.

The mail piece was sent anonymously and appears to be an attempt to leverage lingering animus over the Partition of India, the separation of colonial India that created Pakistan. The partition saw widespread violence along religious lines. Estimates say as many as 2 million died, with tens of millions displaced.

Grewal’s office has empaneled a grand jury to weigh charges over a separate 2017 mailer. That flyer promised to “Make Edison Great Again” and told voters the “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”

Councilman Ajay Patil was recorded saying Bhagia and Wilentz law firm partner Satish Poondi were responsible for the earlier mailer.

Middlesex County Democrats awarded Joshi the organizational line after Grewal launched his probe, feeling growing discomfort with his alleged role in drafting the mail piece.

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