NEW DELHI – New Delhi, Nov 17: A powerful Indian liquor baron and his brother died in a shootout on Saturday on the outskirts of New Delhi, police said, as a feud over family property turned fatal.
Ponty Chadha, dubbed the “Baron of Booze” by the media, and his younger brother, Harvinder, were discussing how to divide the family’s assets a year after the death of their tycoon father when the shooting took place, a family lawyer said.
“The two brothers are dead and we are looking into the circumstances,” a police official told AFP, asking not to be identified. The exact circumstances of the shooting at the luxury family farmhouse were unclear, but local media quoted police as saying Harvinder shot Ponty first, leading to an exchange of fire in which Ponty’s guard was injured and Ponty and Harvinder both died.
“There was a lot of ill-will between the two brothers,” family lawyer Gaurang Kanth told India’s CNN-IBN television network. “It is a shock for everybody, nobody expected it to escalate to this level.”
Ponty, who was in his mid-50s, had estimated the value of his liquor business alone at 60 billion rupees ($1.1 billion). His other interests stretched from real estate to malls, sugar mills and film production.
“There were a lot of problems regarding the property settlement” after the 2011 death of their father Kulwant Singh Chadha, who founded the Chadha Group business, said Kanth, adding Ponty had wanted to retain control of the family empire.
The whereabouts of the third brother, Rajinder, were not immediately known.
Ponty, whose formal name was Gurdeep Singh Chadha, ruled the liquor business in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh after being given the sole distribution licence. He also had big liquor interests in other northern states.
A steady stream of friends and relatives flocked to the high-fenced property where the shooting took place as police swarmed the residence. Television footage showed empty cartridges on the ground outside
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.