INDIA: Liquor baron murdered

By | 19 November 2012

The head of Indian alcohol production and retail company the Wave Group was shot dead in Delhi last weekend.

Gurdeep Singh ‘Ponty’ Chadha was killed on Saturday (17 November) by his brother, who also died in return fire by a bodyguard. Chadha, 55, had complete control of the alcohol retail channel in India’s most populated state of Uttar Pradesh through Wave Group, along with a major stake in other north Indian states.

The group also produces its own liquor brands, among them Wave beer and Divine Sip whisky, and supplies extra neutral alcohol (ENA) to United Spirits, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi in the country.

It also operates two distilleries in Punjab state and is setting up another unit in Uttar Pradesh, and has a franchised bottling unit for Coca Cola and bottles beer for United Breweries. In addition, the group also owns and operates a number of sugar mills.

The killings were triggered by a dispute over the division of business of the Wave Group. Chadha has a son already involved in the company and another brother. The pair are expected to take charge of the group, but analysts have warned that the future for the business is uncertain.

Using profits from the liquor business, Wave Group had diversified into real estate and film financing, among other businesses, and is estimated to be worth in the region of INR80bn (US$1.45bn).

Chadha started his career as a snack seller outside a country liquor shop.


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Sectors: Beer & cider, Emerging markets – BRIC, Spirits, Wine

Companies: United Spirits, Pernod, Ricard, Bacardi, United Breweries

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