New Delhi, Jan.27 (ANI): Noted journalists Vir Sanghvi and Pritish Nandy have revealed that they will be jointly filing a Right To Information (RTI) application with the Central Information Commission (CIC) with regard to this year's Padma Award list and the questionable inclusion of Indian-American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal in it.
Both Sanghvi and Nandy have been messaging each other on Twitter over the past 24 hours on the route they will take to file the RTI.
"Pritish Nandy and I will draft the RTI application on Padma Awards today. Will keep you posted on developments," said Sanghvi in his Tweet.
Criticizing Chatwal for accepting the award despite being charge-sheeted for financial irregularities by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Sanghvi further goes on to say that "If Chatwal has any grace, he should voluntarily give up the award to avoid embarrassing his pals in government."
Sanghvi asks: "BJP, Congress, media, Twitter Universe, all shocked by award. But government unrelenting. Is this accountability? Home min says, off the record, that Chatwal was not on original Padma list. So, who put him in and why?"
He also acknowledges the support for the RTI on Padma Bhushans, saying it shows the power of Twitter.
Nandy on the other hand believes that Chatwal has no serious clout to influence the US-India nuclear deal.
"He only hangs around the US power elite," he says.
He says that the RTI application must be allowed to gain momentum.
"Anyone can sign in as it moves ahead, step by step. We send reminders every 10 days n keep the pressure on thru media n twitter. Lets jointly write to Home Ministry guy responsible for answering RTI queries asking where the recommendation came from," he concludes.
Meanwhile, a defensive Chatwal, who has been shortlisted for a Padma Bhushan award, has rubbished the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) allegation of financial wrongdoing and said that he had been cleared of all charges.
"I have been awarded the high American honour of Ellis Island, which is only given after the United States Government makes sure that there is nothing against a person," Chatwal said.
He further clarified that he had been cleared of all allegations of wrongdoing and that the BJP was trying to play politics by questioning the Government of India on awarding the Padma Bhushan to him.
Recalling his contribution to improving Indo-US relations, Chatwal has said that he is honoured at having been recognized by the Government of India, and added that he would soon be visiting New Delhi to receive the honour.
Chatwal was earlier charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for committing an alleged fraud of nine million dollars on the State Bank of India.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde said Chatwal did not deserve the honour due to his controversial financial dealings and urged that it should be taken back.
The Congress, which heads the UPA Government at the Centre, said the Home Ministry decides the awards and they might have had their reasons for giving it to Chatwal.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said the party in general is keen for these awards to be given to people who enhance its prestige and not to those with a taint.
Chatwal is one of the 13 Non-resident Indians to be given Padma awards on the occasion of Republic Day 2010. (ANI)