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Liquor, real estate giant Ponty Chadha shot dead

Brother also killed as property settlement talks turn violent

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

In an alleged shootout between brothers, 55-year-old liquor baron Gurdeep Singh Chadha, known as Ponty Chadha, was shot dead around 1 pm on Saturday. His younger brother, Hardeep, also died in the firing at Ponty’s 10-acre Chhattarpur farmhouse in New Delhi, apparently over a property dispute. This leaves a question mark over the Chadhas’ Rs 6,000-crore business empire, now branded Wave Inc.

A meeting was arranged between the brothers to resolve a dispute over ownership of some property, sources said. It started on a peaceful note but soon turned ugly, following which one of the brothers allegedly opened fire. The other responded with gunfire, and a personal security guard also got involved, they said. The company refused to comment on the incident.

On October 5, gunshots were reported from Ponty Chadha’s ancestral house in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district, but no one was injured.

  • Started as a sugar crusher in a UP district, the Chadha Group has moved into diverse businesses over the past six decades
  • In 2009, Ponty Chadha got wholesale rights to distribute liquor in UP
  • In 2010, he bagged five of the 11 sick sugar mills sold by the UP govt
  • In the real estate sector, 4,500 acres of prime land was awarded to the group's Wave Infratech for the Yamuna Expressway project

The Chadha empire ranges from distilleries, multiplexes, sugar and paper mills to real estate, poultry, film production and distribution.

The three brothers, Ponty, Rajinder, Hardeep, and Ponty’s son, Manpreet (aka Monty), were running the group across sectors. Ponty was in charge of the liquor distribution business. Monty runs the real estate and poultry business. Rajinder takes care of the financial aspect while the deceased brother, Hardeep, was said to have not been involved in the day-to-day running of any of the group businesses.

The group controls nearly 80 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s liquor business, according to industry estimates. The business was started in 1952 as the Chadha Group by Kulwant Singh Chadha, the brothers’ father. It obtained a country liquor licence in Moradabad and was revamped as Wave Inc later. Ponty took control of the group’s overall operations in March 2009. He had been known for his political connections and clout.

The group grew under Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regime in Uttar Pradesh, and entered the realty business at that point. Ponty was believed to have been close to the Mayawati government subsequently, which handed him the wholesale rights to distribute liquor in the state in 2009. This was the first instance of an individual getting complete control of distribution of liquor in a state. In 2010, he bagged five of the 11 sick sugar mills sold by UP. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found ‘discrepancies’ in the BSP government’s auction of sugar mills, many of which went to Chadha. Ponty was also seen at the swearing-in ceremony of Akhilesh Yadav, when he took over as chief minister in March this year.

Real estate
Centrestage Mall (RM Entertainment), Noida – 350,000 sq ft

Wave Mall (Wave Infratech), Ghaziabad – 97,000 sq ft

Wave Mall (Wave Infratech), Lucknow – 314,000 sq ft

Wave Mall (AB Motions), Ludhiana – 470,000 sq ft

Wave Mall (GSR Movies), Moradabad – 150,000 sq ft

Wave Cinemas (Wave Infratech), New Delhi - 25,000 sq ft

Wave City Centre (residential + commercial), Noida - 152 acres, a Rs 10,000-crore project

Fairlakes (Country Colonisers), Mohali – 264 acres

Hi-Tech City (Uppal Chadha Hi-Tech Developers), Ghaziabad – 4,800 acres

Produced the 2005 Sunny Deol-starrer Jo Bole So Nihaal, among others

Sugar, distilleries, power
Wave Industries, Dhanaura, UP - Production capacity 8,300 TCD with 30-Mw power generation

AB Sugars, Dasuya, Punjab - Production capacity 7,500 TCD with 33-Mw power generation

AB Grains Spirits, Gurdaspur, Punjab - Production capacity 360 kl per day with 5.5-Mw power generation

Paper manufacturing
Chadha Papers, Bilaspur, Uttarakhand - Production capacity 78,550 Mt

Manorama Paper, UP

Coca-Cola bottling plant: Wave Beverages, Amritsar, Punjab, Capacity 80 bpm

Amritsar Crown Cap, Amritsar, Punjab

Source: Media reports, company website

Monty finalised a Rs 350-crore foray into India’s Rs 30,000-crore poultry market with a four-acre plant in Noida.

Ponty had hit the headlines earlier this year when the I-T department conducted searches at his premises. The buzz is the empire may now be divided, and legal disputes cannot be ruled out. “Real estate can still be managed by the son, as he brought professionals from the corporate world but for the liquor business, one needs power and influence as it needs renewal of licences on a year-to-year basis. That’s where Ponty was running the show,” said an analyst.

First Published: Sun, November 18 2012. 00:18 IST