As the news of the death of Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep in alleged cross-firing reached Punjab, the Chadha group's various businesses establishments worth several hundreds of crores were shut, and their shocked relatives rushed to Delhi to attend the last rites.
Westend Mall was closed, and Waves Cinemas also stopped work. The cinemas would remain closed on Sunday too.
Ponty's sister Nishi and her husband Pappu Sethi, who live in the Sarabha Nagar area of Ludhiana, left for Delhi. A palatial bungalow owned by Ponty in the same locality wore a deserted look.
Operations of AB Sugars Limited and his distillery in Hoshiarpur were also stopped. Staff said Ponty used to hardly visit the mills but his brothers Hardeep and Rajinder often came here.
The family had taken over the sugar mill in Randhawa village of Hoshiarpur in 1999, and later set up a molasses-based distillery on the premises with a capacity of 1,800 kilolitres a day.
Chadhas' relatives living in Amritsar were also in shock. Charanjit Chadha, who is president of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, said, "Both my sons are married to cousins of Ponty and we met often. He was a very intelligent businessmen."
The relatives revealed that Ponty had several properties in Amritsar and surrounding areas. He owned shares in bottling plants in the holy city.
In Gurdaspur, where Ponty had liquor trade interests in four groups -- Naushehra Majha Singh Group, Bhaini Mian Khan Group, Mirthal Group and Uchcha Tara Group - Ponty and Hardeep jointly owned the over Rs. 500-crore Chadha Sugar Mills at Kiri Afghana village near Sri Hargobindpur. He had almost complete control of the liquor trade in the district during the Congress regime.
Ponty had also entered the SAS Nagar real estate market in the periphery of Chandigarh - his company Country Colonizers Private Limited launched a premium township, Wave Estate, in 2006. The foundation stone of the township -- originally named Fairlakes, then christened as Westend Estate, before getting the name Wave Estates -- had been laid by the then CM Amarinder. Spread over 460 acres, it covers the entire Sector 85 and part of Sector 99 of Greater Mohali and entails an investment of about Rs. 600 crore.
Ponty had also planned a Rs. 100-crore mall, and had bought an old factory in Industrial Area-3 of SAS Nagar for the project.
(Inputs from Hoshiarpur and Chandigarh)
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