Manhattan DA drops charges against developer Michael Shah
Ex-girlfriend had accused Delshah Capital head of assault and harassment
The Manhattan district attorney’s office dismissed all charges Friday against developer Michael Shah months after an ex-girlfriend alleged that he attacked her.
Shah had been arrested in September on harassment and assault charges after Bhavana Chamoli accused him of pushing her into a wall and onto the floor. Chamoli was then arrested in November on charges of assault and criminal mischief after Shah, who heads Delshah Capital, accused her of slapping him in the face and stomping on his left foot while wearing stiletto heels.
Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Vargas said during the court proceedings that the office decided to drop the charges against Shah following “a thorough investigation including multiple meetings with both parties, interviewing various witnesses and police officers, examining body-worn camera [footage], 911 calls, video surveillance and phone records,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
The Manhattan D.A.’s office previously declined to prosecute Chamoli, and her case is now sealed, according to spokeswoman Naomi Puzzello.
“I am relieved to be completely vindicated of these false accusations,” Shah said in a statement. “This has been an unwelcome distraction, and we can now give our entire focus to our projects at Delshah Capital.”
Manhattan Family Court issued a temporary order of protection for Shah against Chamoli on Friday as well, documents show.
Shah was represented by attorney Rachna Shah, who also serves as Delshah Capital’s general counsel. The two are not related.
Chamoli’s attorney, Jeremy Saland, characterized the office’s decision to drop all charges against Shah as unjust, saying in a statement that prosecutors “inexplicably” chose not to execute a search warrant on his phone and ignored “a trove of corroborative and valuable evidence.”
“Ms. Chamoli is an innocent, honest, courageous and strong woman,” he said. “She was undeserving of any and all of what occurred. She will not let law enforcement’s failings keep justice and truth out of reach, as no woman should.”
But Shah’s attorney said in a statement, “We finally have our acknowledgement that these prosecutions against Mr. Shah should have never happened in the first place.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has faced harsh criticism in recent years for his handling of high-profile sexual assault cases. He has yet to say whether he will seek reelection in 2021, when he could face candidates including Assemblyman Dan Quart, former New York Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg, and attorney and prison reform advocate Janos Marton.