New Delhi: The inclusion of US-based Indian hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal in the list of Padma awardees is generating a lot of heat and controversy.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Gopinath Munde has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking why Chatwal was being given one of India’s highest civilian honours.
The outrage is over the fact that Chatwal recently faced trial in an alleged $9 million bank fraud. He was briefly arrested in the case as well.
But Chatwal said he was "thrilled" at the honour.
"I came to know through US Ambassador Meera Shankar last week. I got to know officially today (Monday) after the list came out. I was thrilled and am grateful to the Government of India for selecting me," said Chatwal.
When asked about the alleged controversy, Chatwal said, "I have no idea about BJP's objection. I love my county and have been working for the past 30 years. I don't care for the parties. They will come and go. I am grateful to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who has recognised my efforts and services for this award."
The NRI businessman has been chosen for the Padma Bhushan in the field of public affairs. He is one of the 13 non resident Indians to be awarded the honour.
- List of Padma awardees