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Prabhjit Singh and Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, November 18, 2012
Ponty Chadha started his liquor trade in Punjab when the Akali-BJP regime was in power from 1997 to 2002, but his high point came when the Congress' Capt Amarinder Singh became the chief minister.


In 2005, Ponty accompanied a gold-plated palanquin carrying the Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a procession from Delhi to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, enjoying massive politico-religious patronage.

In 2001, he broke the liquor trade monopoly of then Akali minister Jagdish Singh Garcha by winning the Ludhiana vends' auction for Rs. 17 crore. Garcha was reportedly close to CM Parkash Singh Badal's son Sukhbir. The CM's son-in-law Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, who held the excise and taxation ministry, allegedly brought Ponty to Punjab after a spat with Sukhbir.

When the Congress came to power under Amarinder, Ponty's close relative Paramjit Singh Sarna - the Badals' sworn enemy - helped him keep his interests safe.Despite Akalis' return to power in 2007, Ponty's sugar mills and realty interests flourished. Ponty's relations with the Akalis seemed to have got a boost when Sukhbir attended the wedding of Ponty's daughter in February.