Congress voices opposition to Chatwal’s Padma Award
The Congress on Tuesday obliquely voiced its opposition to the Centre’s decision to give the Padma Bhushan to US-based NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, saying such prestigious awards should not be given to tainted persons. HT reports.india Updated: Jan 27, 2010 01:24 IST
The Congress on Tuesday obliquely voiced its opposition to the Centre’s decision to give the Padma Bhushan to US-based NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, saying such prestigious awards should not be given to tainted persons.
“The Congress wants the Padma awards to be given to people who enhance the prestige of the award as well their own. No tainted person should be given this award,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said.
The reaction came a day after the BJP protested the award. BJP leader Gopinath Munde wrote to the Prime Minister demanding withdrawal of Chatwal’s award in the wake of allegations about controversial financial dealings.
The CBI had chargesheeted Chatwal for an alleged $ 9 million fraud case connected with the State Bank of India.
On the BJP’s demand, Ahmed said, “...The government has decided to give him the award in its own wisdom. It is for the government spokesman to reply to the opposition charges.”
Chatwal seemed unfazed. “I am very grateful to the Government of India that after such a long time they have really recognised the services; that they are putting the trust in me and honouring me with their most prestigious civilian award,” he said in Washington.
“I have really no idea about BJP’s objection. I love my country and have been working towards building the Indo-US relationship for the past 30 years. I don’t care for the parties. They will come and go.”
He added, “The (fraud) charges are almost 20 years old. Everything has been settled as per American laws, as per Indian laws.”