Ponty Chadha: From snack seller to liquor tycoon

Ponty Chadha: From snack seller to liquor tycoon
New Delhi From selling snacks by the roadside to owning a business empire worth around Rs.8,000 crore, Ponty Chadha's was a real rags-to-riches story.

Gurdeep Singh Chadha alias Ponty Chadha, who was born in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, used to sell snacks with his father in front of a liquor shop as a boy.

Using his political clout, he soon ruled over the liquor business in Uttar Pradesh and his corporate interests also spanned across real estate, sugar, film production and exhibition.

In September this year, his Wave Group bought the Delhi franchise of Hockey India League that is set to make its debut next year.

Mr Chadha, 55, who was killed in a family feud with his brother on Saturday, was granted the sole distributorship for liquor in Uttar Pradesh under the Mayawati regime in 2009. He is alleged to have bought liquor at low prices and sold it at exorbitant rates.

Along with his brothers, Ponty managed the Chadha Group, which was consolidated under the Wave brand. He ran a chain of Wave multiplexes in the national capital region. He also owned malls under the Centrestage brand.

The family's good fortunes came when his father, Kulwant Singh Chadha, bagged the licence for the liquor shop in front of which they sold snacks.

Mr Chadha was known to be close to both Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party, which now rules Uttar Pradesh.

In February this year, the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh was indicted by the government auditor with regard to divestment of stake in 11 active sugar mills owned by the state's sugar corporation.

The government auditor said rules were openly flouted and the mills were sold to private entrepreneurs for peanuts.

It severely indicted Wave Industries and PBS Foods - both owned by Mr Chadha.

The Samajwadi Party government, soon after being sworn-in in March this year, said it would hold a probe into the alleged irregularities. But it later went soft on Mr Chadha amidst rumours of a patch-up between the ruling party and the liquor baron.

Mr Chadha's Great Food Value company is in the running for a multi-crore contract for Anganwadi food supply that is being handed out by the Akhilesh Yadav government for three years.

Great Food Value has been distributing Anganwadi food for the last seven years in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Chadha won the contract for the first time from the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government, and later in 2009 when Mayawati-led BSP was in power.

However, Samajwadi Party leader and Lucknow legislator Sharda Pratap Shukla has demanded a probe either by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or by the Economic Offences Wing of police, into the nutrition procurement procedure of the company.

Also in February this year, raids were conducted on Mr Chadha's properties and the Central Board of Direct Taxes seized cash, jewellery and fixed deposits worth Rs.11.61 crore.

The Income Tax department raided 17 places belonging to the liquor baron across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, including his multiplexes in Noida and a sprawling farm house spread over 13 acres in Chattarpur in south Delhi.
Story First Published: November 17, 2012 19:32 IST

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