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Prior to his assignment with The Indian Express, he was the editor of Language publications in India Today news magazine. Before holding this post he worked as the Editorial Director of the magazine for 24 years until August 2010. Mr Chawla has the unique distinction of being the only journalist ever in India whose story had led to the fall of a Government in New Delhi. He scooped the controversial Jain Commission report on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Its publication in the magazine led to the Congress withdrawing support to the United Democratic Front government, which led to the fall of the Inder Kumar Gujral led regime in 1997.
While at India Today, he hosted the popular talk show Seedhi Baat on Aaj Tak channel where he grilled prominent personalities. But after leaving the group he was replaced by M. J. Akbar. He is one of the top Talk show hosts in India and his weekly show "Theekhi Baat" on the IBN7 channel has one of the highest ratings for a news-based programme.
Prabhu Chawla was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Indian government in 2003. A chronological list of various awards and recognitions -
- 2010: Global Punjabi Society Achievers Award
- 2009: Indian Television Academy Award for the Best News and Current Affairs Anchor for Seedhi Baat programme that featured people in the news from politics, culture to sports
- 2008: Indian Television Academy Award for the Best Talk Show Host
- 2008: Sansui Television Best TV Anchor Award
- 2005 : The Hero Honda-Indian Television Academy (ITA) Best Anchor award for `Seedhi Baat’ (telecast on Aajtak)
- 2003: Padma Bhushan by the President of India
- 2003: Telly Awards — TV NEWS ANCHOR OF THE YEAR
- 1998: TSR Kalapeetham Life Time Achievement Award
- 1989 : GK REDDY MEMORIAL AWARD for “in recognition of proficiency in writing about national and international events. An acknowledgement of the range and depth of political reporting in India Today.’’
- 1985-86: FEROZE GANDHI MEMORIAL AWARD for “meticulous reporting of national affairs and investigative stories”.
- 1984: VEERESALINGAM NVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AWARD instituted by Dr Vasireddi Malathi Trust Hithakarini Samaj, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh
Prabhu Chawla's name cropped up in the infamous Radia tapes controversy. Mr. Chawla has accepted that he knew Ms. Nira Radia and had conversations with her. It is alleged that he forewarned Mr. Mukesh Ambani regarding a judgement of the Mumbai High Court.  There is, however, controversy regarding the exact conversations that took place. Soon after the controversy, Mr. Chawla resigned from India Today group, with some alleging that he was asked to resign rather than him resigning on his own.