Fifty-one-year-old A M Arun, the founder of Vasan Eye Care, passed away in Chennai today. While the report stated that he died due to cardiac arrest, officially the hospital management where he was admitted did not make any official statement.
His body was sent to the Government's Omandurar Multispecialty hospital for an autopsy.
In 1991, Arun took over the reins of the family’s pharmacy business ‘Vasan Medical Hall’ in Trichy. In 2002, he forayed into the eye care business by setting up the first eye care hospital in Trichy.
Today the network includes 170 eye care hospitals in India and 27 dental Hospitals across 4 states in South India. Company also operates two multi-speciality hospitals in Trichy. Vasan Eye Care Hospitals are day-care centres for treating eye ailments.
It became a jewel in the crown of marquee venture capital (VC) funds including Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt Ltd and GIC Pte. Ltd (formerly Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) fell from grace.
But things did not last for long. While the company was making losses on the one hand, on the other it came under the radar of investigation agencies on allegations being aired of Arun’s closeness to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union minister of finance P Chidambaram, and Of Karti's having used Vasan Healthcare to launder black money.
Income Tax officials had also searched Arun’s residence in Chennai and Vasan Healthcare’s offices in Mylapore in 2015. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also conducted investigations into the financial dealings of the group.
Insolvency proceedings were initiated against Vasan Healthcare Private Limited, the parent company of Vasan Eye Care, in 2017 based on a petition filed by Alcon Laboratories. Alcon Laboratories was one of the suppliers of Vasan Healthcare. However, various litigation processes delayed the proceedings by a few years. Madras High Court had stayed the insolvency proceedings till September 2019. As of June 2020, the case is pending before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Chennai.