How CBI gave clean chit to Chatwal

Two CBI directors refused to file appeal against Chatwal's acquittal in the bank fraud case

GN Bureau | January 30, 2010


Sant Singh Chatwal: In the eye of the storm
Sant Singh Chatwal: In the eye of the storm

Two CBI directors played key role in letting NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal off the hook in the bank fraud case. They rejected the advice of their own investigators and refused to appeal against Chatwal's discharge in the case.

These and other startling disclosures have been made in a report by the national daily, Indian Express.

The report says, former director Vijay Shankar and the present one, Ashwani Kumar, signed orders (in 2007 and 2008) saying that there was no need to challenge the discharge of Chatwal and his co-accused. This closed the bank fraud case in which Chatwal was embroiled for more than a decade.

Chatwal and four others were charged with defrauding Bank of India's New York branch to the tune of Rs 28.32 crore. The CBI filed two chargesheets naming him as the accused and even put him and his wife behind bars from February 2 to February 5, 1997. In January 2007, the CBI special judge issued a discharge order saying that there was "insufficient evidence".

The CBI had filed two more chargesheets against others and the trial in these cases are still in progress.

Chatwal remained an accused in CBI's record for 14 years. Notwithstanding this, the central government decided to honour him with Padma Bhushan. When Indian Express exposed the murky past of the NRI hotelier, the government issued a statement saying that "there is nothing adverse on record" against him.

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