New Delhi: Liquor baron Ponty Chadha diversified from sugar and distillery businesses to real estate, cineplexes and personal finance with the help of his well-oiled connections with almost all major political parties in Uttar Pradesh.
Chadha's business empire, the Wave Group, is conservatively valued at Rs. 6,000 crore. It encompasses distilleries, multiplexes (Wave Cinemas), sugar and paper mills, real estate, poultry and films (he produced the 2005 Sunny Deol starrer Jo Bole So Nihaal).
Chadha's brothers, sons and a grandson run parts of the empire and he rarely appears before the media.
In 2005, during the government of Mulayam Singh, Chadha won statewide contracts to supply ready to eat food for poor, underweight or otherwise malnourished children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
Chadha's business interests didn't suffer when Singh's rival, Mayawati, came to power in Uttar Pradesh. Chadha's company, Great Value Foods, retained the nutrition contracts, and in 2009, he gained an unprecedented monopoly over the state's wholesale liquor trade.
Chadha's companies have been probed by Income Tax authorities several times but he has never suffered legal setbacks. After his properties in 25 locations in Delhi, NCR and Uttar Pradesh were raided in February this year, Chadha reported 'undisclosed income' of Rs. 175 crore and paid Rs. 54 crore as tax to the Income Tax department.
Chadha was born in a poor family in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Gurdeep Singh Chadha alias Ponty Chadha used to sell snacks with his father in front of a country wine shop.