Against the backdrop of U.S.-based hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal getting a Padma Bhushan, Congress on Tuesday said these awards should be given to people who enhance its prestige and not to those with a “taint“.

“We are not talking of any specific case. But these awards should be given to people who enhance its prestige and not to those who have a taint,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said when asked about the row over the selection of Mr. Chatwal, who was earlier chargesheeted by the CBI in a fraud case.

“The award should be given to people whose integrity is not doubtful,” Mr. Ahmed said.

BJP Deputy Leader of the Opposition Gopinath Munde has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the award to Mr. Chatwal be taken back. He argued that due to Mr. Chatwal’s alleged controversial financial dealings, he did not deserve the honour.

“The Padma awards are decided by the Home Ministry after a due process. They might have their reasons for it. Only the Ministry could explain it,” the Congress spokesman said.

He said for these awards, names come from various state governments and other quarters to the Home Ministry. “These are assessed and then shortlisted,” he said.

Me. Chatwal was earlier chargesheeted by the CBI in an alleged $9 million fraud case.

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