The New York Police have charged Indian-American hotelier and actor Vikram Chatwal with criminal mischief for allegedly trying to set two dogs on fire, reported PTI. Chatwal surrendered before the police on Monday, but was granted bail by the Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday after he furnished a $50,000 (approximately Rs 34 lakh) bond.

The police told PTI that Chatwal has been charged with criminal mischief, torturing and injuring an animal, reckless endangerment and arson. Chatwal's attorney Arthur Aidala, however, argued that he was an animal lover but suffered from a bipolar disorder. Judge Steve Statsinger issued an order of protection for the two Jack Russell Terriers, Molly and Finnegan, as well as the owner, reported Daily News.

The incident took place on October 7 around 11.30 am when Chatwal, the founder of the Dream Hotel Group, allegedly took out a lighter and a can of aerosol to torch the two dogs, reported a local news website. Before this, he had allegedly had a verbal fight with the woman who was walking the dogs outside Chatwal's Soho home. The dogs suffered minor burns. According to Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite, Chatwal that day had yelled, “The dogs must die!”.

This is not the first time that the actor, who has worked in films like Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Zoolander, has been embroiled in a controversy. In 2013, he was jailed in Florida after the police allegedly found illegal drugs on him at an airport. The next year, he admitted to being an addict. His attorney, however, refused that Chatwal had any history of violence.