NEW DELHI: The life of Ponty Chadha had a bitter end. The liquor baron from Moradabad, who started his journey as a waiter and later experienced profound success, was killed by his own brother Hardeep Singh Chadha. The episode is allegedly reasoned out as a property dispute which not only killed Ponty but Hardeep too died a tragic death in the crossfire. But did they really die that death, or this murder comes in disguise?
Ponty became an influential personality after his business grew manifolds. He proved to be the bender and bartender in states of north like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Punjab.
Precisely, the liquor lobby of UP was controlled by Ponty. Witnessing his liquor trade budding, Ponty tried coming in contact with people who ruled related departments in the state governments. Some of his close acquaintances helped him come in close contact with state bureaucrats and ministers; post which Ponty became the god of liquor in north. His success granted him power and control over ministers, therefore giving him authority to manipulate things according to his will, by now he became popular as 'liquor king'.
When governments changed, he too bargained willingly and juggled through political parties (which were in reign). Ponty always made a deal that couldn’t be ignored and thereby his say was last, however improper it seemed to the confronting person or company. This was the reason why always, it was his company that pocketed the contracts and it was Ponty, who decided what prices of liquor to qoute. These regions saw the selling of liquor at tagged prices more than the ‘maximum retail price’.
He usually never left choices for liquor companies; his decision was last and only those brands had markets in these regions that caught his statements deep. And usually company had to accept his proposal since the states had huge consumption of liquor and companies extracted good business from the market.
His clout got brands like United Breweries, Mohan Meakin, Seagram, Old monk, 8PM, losing their business. In fact, Mohan Meakin’s, who delivered their products from Ghaziabad and Lucknow, almost lost their Luknow branch; it was only due to the disobedience made in Ponty’s regulations. Other brands which were seen in market clears out that they (companies) considered his commands.
Many companies faced the heat and sold their factories to United Breweries, owned by Vijay Mallya. Later, even Mallya had to compromise with Ponty in order to keep his business running in the states, which can be said, were ruled by “handicapped” Ponty Chadha.