BY | November 17, 2012

New Delhi, (IANS) 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.

Chadha, 55, who was killed here in a family feud with his brother 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 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.

Chadha was known to be close to both Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party, which is now ruling 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 Chadha.

The Samajwadi Party government, soon after being sworn-in in March 2012, said it would hold a probe into the alleged irregularities. But it later went soft on Chadha amidst rumours of a patch-up between the ruling party and the liquor baron.

Earlier this month, the Akhilesh Yadav government granted a multi-crore rupee contract for Anganwadi food supply to Chadha’s Great Food Value company for three years.

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

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 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.

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