Prabhu Chawla’s son named in media bribery case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named advocate Ankur Chawla, son of Prabhu Chawla, editor of the leading English newsweekly India Today*, for allegedly acting as a conduit to pay a bribe to a quasi-judicial official for “a favourable verdict in a case concerning a media house”.

The Hindustan Times reports that junior Chawla represented one of the two feuding factions of the Hindi daily newspaper Amar Ujala, and had arranged for Rs 10 lakh to be delivered to the acting chairman of the company law board (CLB), R. Vasudevan, who has been arrested for taking the bribe.

The Times of India, quoting CBI sources, says Ankur Chawla had approached Manoj Banthia, a secretary with the Ujala management, with Rs 10 lakh to get the case settled in favour of the daily’s management. “Banthia kept Rs 3 lakh. Chawla’s name is also in the FIR.”

According to Press Trust of India, Banthia was nabbed while he was emerging from Vasudevan’s house in South Delhi after allegedly paying the bribe. A further sum of Rs 55 lakh was also recovered from the residence of the 58-year-old officer.

The Economic Times quotes a CBI spokesman as saying it was “a double-trap”, in which the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker were arrested.

Atul Maheshwari, managing director of the Amar Ujala group, has clarified he had no connection with the case, but Chawla’s house in upscale Defence Colony was raided and a file relating to the case was recovered “establishing his links with the case“.

Indo Asian News Service reports that Chawla, who was reportedly out of India for two days, has professed ignorance about the bribery but has said he will co-operate with investigators.

However, Financial Chronicle reports that Ankur Chawla was among the three arrested along with Vasudevan and Banthia. But the official CBI press release makes no mention of a third arrest, much less the name or pedigree of Chawla.

The Hindu reports that CBI has registered a case against Vasudevan, Banthia and Ankur Chawla under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 7 (public servant taking bribe other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act), 8 (taking bribe, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) and other sections of the prevention of corruption Act.

To its credit, Mail Today, the tabloid newspaper owned by the India Today group for which Prabhu Chawla writes a weekly Monday column, gave the most space to the story among all Delhi dailies without, however, revealing the link.

It quoted the CBI spokesman as saying “an advocate acted as the conduit for giving this bribe,” and that “raids at the advocate’s house revealed documents belonging to multiple offices of the media house.”

Read the CBI press release here

* Disclosures apply


  1. mysore peshva

    wow, what a fine synthesis of a great story (although I don’t understand why prabhu chawla’s name is mentioned in the headline).

  2. journo

    Im no fan of PC, but i also dnt understand why the link shd be mentioned in the hedline. Him being prabhu’s son has no bearing on the case, its circumstances or the events that led upto it.

  3. RK

    What’s so wrong in naming the father? If ‘India Today’ was doing a story on the escapades of a young celebrity, would it avoid revealing which stock he or she comes from?

  4. what’s in a name? Think the credibility of media where it is doling out bribes to get case settled….where’s the moral authority?

  5. Andy

    I agree with RK’s reasoning

  6. RIMI

    Lineage talks. Like father,like son.

  7. saroj

    I don’t think the Living Media Group (India Today etc) has a moral leg to stand on while condemning conflicts-of-interest or criticising people who escape the law because of family connections. Ankur Chawla is the tip of the iceberg.

  8. K S

    The spectators should hold their verdit until a suspect is accused of the crime.. it as good as declaring a person dead while the doc is trying to save..

  9. Surendrapeters

    The writers should hold their verdict until a suspect is convicted of the crime. Why should Prabhu Chawla’s name be attached if the son is named in a bribery case which is not not finalized yet.

  10. Varun

    I dnt think their is any blame to b put on Prabu bcoz of his son’s wrong deeds.

  11. Tanya Bose

    Ankur Chawla is actually a tout who is working as a Lawyer. He should be debarred from practice by the BAR Council.
    IN practice, he use to give the confidence to the litigants of geting the work done from the judicial officer.
    It is intresting to note that till date he has not argued even a single case, he was just a conduit between the litigants and the Senior Counsels. Also it known now that he was the counduit between the members of bench and the litigants, as well.
    People use to go to him not because of his work, but because of his father’s image, which was being encashed by him throughout to give confidence to the litigant for getting the work done.
    He is black sheep, SHAME MAN.

    Pl. realise that if people of this stature will indulge in such activities, then how will a small man survive.

    1. Anonymous

      Chawla is chargesheeted, summoned and out on bail.
      See links below:-

      Chargesheet against ex-CLB chairman in bribe case

      Summons issued against ex-Company Law Board chairperson

      Bail to Four in Graft Case Involving Ex-CLB Member

  12. pawan

    can we expect ankur chawla on ‘sidhi baat’?

  13. Curry Hurry

    Prabhu Chawla is as corrupt as Barkha and Vir Sanghvi. You should listen to his pathetic sour grape accusations at the JDU representatives (in the live program covering the Bihar Assembly results 2010) that they shied away from inviting Modi for the campaign. Bidru meese mannu agilla anno abhipraya ee congress chela Chawla avaradu.

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