For Ponty Chaddha, connections just flowed

Ponty Chaddha, the undisputed liquor baron of Uttar Pradesh who was killed by his own brother in a shoot- out in Delhi on Saturday, kept his friends close.

That perhaps was the reason that Chaddha, who had close ties with BSP supremo Mayawati, remained unscathed even during Akhilesh Yadav’s regime.

Chaddha, who hailed from the brass city of Moradabad in UP, about 160 kms from New Delhi, took full advantage of his political connections in UP and delved into real estate, liquor, sugar mills and even supplying “anganvadi” food.

The Mayawati regime was quite generous with Chaddha and awarded his company liquor contract for the state. Later, the BSP government also sold, in a controversial deal, the loss making state-owned sugar mills at throwaway prices.

Chaddha’s liquor business was mired in controversy following charges that liquor was sold well above the printed price. It was alleged that he had a tacit understanding with officials and politicians and shared the spoils with them.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had also detected large-scale irregularities in the sugar mills deal and said the mills were grossly undervalued, resulting in windfall gains for the buyers. The CAG said Chaddha, who was also linked to the cartel, had bought five mills while the rest were sold to two other parties, including a BSP parliamentarian. The deal, according to the CAG, caused Rs 1,200 crore loss to state. The state government had
recently asked the Lokayukta to investigate into the deal.

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