NEW YORK: Hotel owner and celebrity circuit boy Vikram Chatwal, who was arrested on Tuesday in Florida for allegedly carrying heroin and other drugs, faces three years behind bars if he is found guilty.
According to police, Chatwal, who was once married to Indian model Priya Sachdev and is known for his proximity to many celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan, Victoria’s Secret model Angela Lindvall and Gisele Bundchen, was arrested when security personnel at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport found his behaviour suspicious.
He was reportedly detected hiding heroin, cocaine, ketamine, pot and other pills and asked to undergo security check. Police found over a dozen sedative pills in his carry-on bag and cocaine in his jacket pocket.
His search after his arrest led to discovery of a small bag in the crotch of his pants in which he had hidden six grams of heroin, a half a gram of ketamine and some marijuana.
After Chatwal admitted to possessing illegal drugs, he was slapped with eight counts of charges, including drug trafficking, and arrested.
After spending night in a Florida jail, Chatwal was released on Wednesday on bail.
Fortyone-year-old Chatwal is the son of controversial hotelier Sant Chatwal whose nomination for India’s top civilian award called the Padma Bhushan three years ago led to protests by opposition political parties.
In 2005, Vikram married Indian model Priya Sachdeva. Called the wedding of the year, it was attended by former US President Bill Clinton who is a friend of the Chatwals. But the marriage didn’t last long, but the couple had daughter named Safira who is six years old now.
Vikram’s father Sant Chatwal left the Indian air force to go to Addis Ababa to start hotel business. He later moved to New York where he now owns Hampshire Hotels and Resorts and the Bombay Palace chain of restaurants.
The Chatwal family’s hotel business is reportedly worth over $600 million.