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Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, November 19, 2012
UP's liquor baron Ponty Chadha, who was killed on Saturday in a shootout, had also taken over the market of Gurgaon and Faridabad in the past. He entered the two Haryana towns in 1998 and monopolised the tipple trade for about eight years till 2006.
All the liquor vends were won by him during the period when the auction system was in force. In 2006, the Haryana government made changes in the excise policy and introduced draw-of-lots system for bidders. Following this, Chadha decided to withdraw from both the towns.

According to market watchers, Chadha was in the habit of monopolising liquor trade and he did the same in Gurgaon and Faridabad till 2006 when he used to own all vends in both the districts.

The Haryana Excise and Taxation Policy 2006-07 allowed auctioning of the liquor vends. Chadha's firm bagged all 130 vends in Gurgaon and 150 in Faridabad. Armed with several years of experience and money power, Chadha would bid the highest during the auctions.

However, the Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2006 introduced draw-of-lots system for allocation of liquor vends. New system was good enough to break Chadha's cartel as vends started to go in individual hands in the lots of two to 10 vends only.

It was on the strength of his entrepreneurial skills and the massive political clout in political parties that remained in power in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab that Ponty was able to leave his footprints across businesses and states.

Though the group's mainstay was liquor trade Ponty diversified into food, sugar, coal mining and real estate.

"The Income Tax raids just ahead of the UP assembly polls this year were the first indication that he had become a 'marked man' and his activities had come under the scanner of the Union government but nobody, who knew him, had written him off," said a senior Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat.

Sources said Ponty had recently bought 7,000 hectares of land in South Africa.

(with inputs by Tariq Khan in Lucknow)