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Chatwal under scanner, may lose Padma award


Arunima,CNN-IBN
Feb 06, 2010 at 10:10pm IST

New Delhi: Controversial NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal could lose his Padma Bhushan with Home Ministry probing allegations of corruption against him.

Home Ministry sources say that Chatwal's award may be withdrawn if the fresh charges of fraud levelled against him are found to be true.

Home Ministry sources though added that the final decision on the withdrawal of the Padma award will be a political one.

The decision to investigate Chatwal's case came after an Indian Express report revealed that there are still seven cases pending against the hotelier.

The report says that there three criminal complaints pending against him with the Kerala Police, as well as four cases in Delhi and Kerala High Courts.

All the cases were filed in 2009.

The report says some cases related to Chatwal's Dream Hotel in Kochi, alleging non-payment of bills, physical intimidation and harassment.

The Home Ministry had justified the Padma Bhushan awarded to Chatwal earlier, saying that the CBI had given him a clean chit.

Moreover, Chatwal's reputation is an issue not just in India it seems.

Reports say US President Barrack Obama's Finance Committee had refused to accept any contributions from Chatwal during the 2008 presidential campaign apparently due to his controversial background.

"The campaign people were very unhappy after Chatwal made that announcement. They did not take any money from him because of his background and baggage," said the Finance Committee.

Chatwal, who is known for his proximity with the Clintons, had offered to organise a $10 million fund raising event for Obama after Hillary Clinton withdrew from the race.

The BJP has been demanding that Chatwal, who recently facing trials for an alleged bank fraud amounting to $9 million, should not get the coveted award and that the Government should take back its decision.

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