Vikram Chatwal, 44, has a reputation as a hard-partying international playboy, who has opened luxury hotels and dated supermodels. He was married to Indian beauty Priya Sachdev, was engaged to Spanish model Esther Cañadas, and is often seen with Hollywood A-listers. Now he has a reputation as an animal abuser, after being busted for blasting two small dogs with a makeshift blowtorch outside his pricey SoHo condo, screaming “THE DOGS MUST DIE!”
The incident occurred on the morning of October 7th in the exclusive New York City neighborhood known for its art galleries and high priced clothing boutiques. The victim says she was walking her two Jack Russell Terriers – Molly and Finnegan - in front of Chatwal’s building when he tried to torch them with a lighter held in front of an easily ignited aerosol can. The flame singed the dog’s fur, resulting in minor injuries. Chatwal was charged with animal torture, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment and released on $50,000 bail. The dogs and their owner also received an order of protection, which could result in big trouble for Chatwal should he interact or threaten them in the future.
Chatwal’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, argued that his client suffered from bipolar disorder and was a lifelong animal lover, for whom, “The notion that he wants to hurt or kill animals just flies in the face of the life that he's lived.” Born into the hotel business, his father Sant Chatwal founded Hampshire Hotels and Resorts and the Bombay Palace restaurant chain. Vikram is the man behind the exclusive Night and Dream Hotels in NYC. However, he has also had several run ins with the law, including a 2013 drug arrest and multiple stints in rehab. Chatwal is due back in court December 8.
Photo: Getty Images
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