New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday expressed its disappointment over the government’s decision to award the Padma Bhushan to non-resident Indian hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal and sent a letter to President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that it be taken back.
Gopinath Munde, deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, wrote to the President and Prime Minister expressing disapproval over the government’s decision, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Credentials questioned: A file photo of Sant Singh Chatwal, who the BJP says, was arrested in Mumbai but secured bail and left the country.
Munde’s letter says that Chatwal’s controversial financial dealings make him undeserving of the honour.
Chatwal, who is considered close to former US president Bill Clinton and his wife and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, was earlier the subject of an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a fraud involving $9 million (Rs41.58 crore today). Chatwal had allegedly defaulted on paying back the money he owed to State Bank of India. The investigation agency even filed a list of charges against him, the second stage in such investigations.
The letter also mentions that Chatwal was arrested in Mumbai in connection with the case, but secured bail and left the country.
The hotelier was acquitted in one of the four cases in 2008 and with the prosecution preferring not to appeal, the case was closed.
Chatwal recently announced that his Hampshire Hotels chain would set up 25 hotels in India by 2011.