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‘Chadha & Co’ that ruled Chief Khalsa Diwan for 14 years falls from grace with tragic end

Inderpreet’s wife Inderjit Kaur is a cousin sister of liquor baron Ponty Chadha, who was shot dead in a crossfire with his brother Hardeep Singh in 2012.

punjab Updated: Jan 04, 2018 14:09 IST
Surjit Singh and Anil Sharma
Surjit Singh and Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Inderpreet Singh Chadha,Inderpreet suicide,Chief Khalsa Diwan
After the death of Inderpreet, who was a former vice-president of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Harjit Singh (centre) is the only other son of Charanjit Singh Chadha besides a daughter.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The suicide by Inderpreet Singh Chadha, 52, the son of sacked Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD) president Charanjit Singh Chadha, 83, on Wednesday brings to an end the 14-year reign of the prominent business family in the socio-religious politics of Punjab. Inderpreet killed himself a week after a woman school principal lodged a sexual harassment complaint against his father after an objectionable video surfaced. Inderpreet was also booked for criminal intimidation along with his father after the woman complained that he threatened to eliminate her for making the allegations.

While Charanjit is absconding, Inderpreet, a former vice-president of the CKD, appeared before the special investigation team on Tuesday.

Inderpreet’s younger brother, Harjit Singh, 40, and their sister Veeta Chadha, 54, are now left to look after the family’s business. The family was known for its hold on the liquor business till two years ago. It is into the real estate business and owns three hotels in Amritsar besides houses in Chandigarh and Delhi.

The family owns a fleet of trucks run under Chadha Transport and also manufactures tyres.

Inderpreet’s wife Inderjit Kaur is a cousin sister of liquor baron Ponty Chadha, who was shot dead in a crossfire with his brother Hardeep Singh in 2012.

The rise of Charanjit Singh

Charanjit shot into limelight after taking over as president with the support of then Akal Takht jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti in 2004. Gradually, he built his monopoly over the 115-year-old organisation, which was a part of the Singh Sabha movement launched during British rule to propagate Sikhism.

The CKD runs 50 schools besides two management colleges, a nursing college, an orphanage, two old age homes and a hospital.

Chadha started inducting his relatives into the organisation for which he even amended its constitution. During his tenure, he cornered his opponents and expelled old members, including honorary secretary Bhag Singh Ankhi and former Akali minister Manjit Singh Calcutta. His son, Harjit, was made the joint secretary of the CKD.

Charanjit’s opponents allege that he turned the CKD into “Chadha and Company” and did not stick to the aim of imparting education and propagating Sikhism.

Political clout

The lavish wedding and reception of Inderpreet’s elder son, Anmol Singh, were organised at a hotel in Dubai a month ago. Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh attended the wedding at a gurdwara in Dubai.

Though Chadha did not have any direct affiliation to any political party, he is considered close to the Akalis and tightened his grip on the CKD during the decade-long rule of the party.

He was inducted as vice-president of the Khalsa College Governing Council that manages Amritsar’s Khalsa College. He stayed close to the party in power. After the Congress won the Punjab elections last year, he met chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 21:56 IST