Gurdeep Singh Chadha (22 October 1960 – 17 November 2012), also known as Ponty Chadha, was an Indian businessperson who owned the Wave Group.
During the partition, a person named Kulwant Singh Chadha migrated from Pakistan to set up a mini sugar mill in the Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. It was around that time when Ponty, the first offspring of the family was born. As a young boy, Ponty Chadha used to help his father in the business. As a man, he went on to manage the entire Wave Group.
Wave Group is involved in food processing, paper manufacturing, sugar mills, breweries and distilleries, power manufacturing, bottling plants, real estate as well as film distribution. Their flagship companies include Wave Infratech, Wave Cinemas, Wave Distilleries and Breweries, The Delhi Waveriders, Film Distribution, Wave City, Wave City Center, Wave Estate, Wave One, Wave Malls, and Wave Industries. It is also said that Ponty had developed close ties with former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh.
Liquor license monopoly
Just before the 2009 General Elections, due to a change in Uttar Pradesh government policy to control the trafficking of spurious liquor, the system of multiple wholesale dealers was abolished. This led to the monopoly of Chadha group who acquired the license to sell wholesale alcohol single-handedly in the whole state.
Multiplexes and malls
The company operates multiplexes and malls under the brand name 'Wave Cinemas' & ‘Wave Malls’ in New Delhi, Noida, and several cities across North India. Incepted in 1999, the company has distributed over 150 Bollywood blockbusters and has cross-border ventures as well. Besides India, the distribution network covers Nepal, Bhutan, United States, UK and several other Arabian and Asian countries.
In February 2012, the Directorate of IT and CI officials reportedly raided the home of Surinder Sawhney the Uncle of Former Delhi Finance Minister Jatinderpal Sawhney, who is the direct brother in law of Rajesh Katial, belonging to the prominent Katial family of New Delhi It was said that cash worth Rs 110 million, jewellery and fixed deposits were recovered, and 13 bank lockers confiscated. However, various media reports were contradictory. About two weeks later, they reported that almost nothing was recovered.
However, there were questions raised over the perfectly timed incidents just before the UP elections and how the worth of seized assets was so precisely quoted within a few hours of the raid.
Wave Infratech is the real estate arm of the Chadha Group. Starting off with commercial and residential projects and malls in Noida, the group expanded to Punjab, Gurgaon, and other parts of North India. It tied up with IBM to build India's first smart city, Wave City, Ghaziabad. Other ventures include Wave One, Wave Cinemas, Wave Malls, Wave City, Wave Estate, and Wave City Center. Chadha group also enjoyed a hold over the mining business in Bundelkhand and Sonbhadra regions of Uttar Pradesh.
Ponty established Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan in July 1999, a non-profit special education institution in Noida with the mission to educate and prepare special children to achieve physical, social and financial independence to the best of their abilities, in honor of his right hand man Niketan Sawhney being shot and killed in a standoff with a rival business group on December 1997.
The school aims at total self-reliance and its curriculum is specifically tailored for that. Alongside academic learning, it trains children on art and handicraft for all-round development. Dedicated outlets at Wave Malls further promote the merchandise produced in-house by the children.
Ponty Chadha, died on 17 November 2012 and his death remains mired in mystery. The cause of the death is said to be crossfire between him and brother Hardeep, though varied accounts of the incident can be found. One of the arguments is that disputed ownership over a piece of property led to the crossfire; speculations in the media of the brothers being in loggerheads over the family business were also rife, but all these have remained largely unconfirmed in the public domain.
Moreover, sources debating the incident, including Taranjit Singh, who is claimed to be a close family relative, confirm that Ponty was handicapped in both hands and could not possibly have fired at his brother. It was also later established when during the investigations it came out that Hardeep had initiated the crossfire.
In January 2014, murder charges against all the 21 accused were dropped by a trial court in Delhi, including Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, ex-chief of Uttarakhand's minority commission who was arrested on 23 November for shooting at Hardeep Chadha.
However, charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder were invoked against Namdhari and his Personal Security Officer, Sachin Tyagi while the 19 other accused were charged with attempt to murder.
The Delhi Police, in July 2014, contested the ruling in the Delhi High Court which accepted the plea and served fresh notices to the 21 accused.
During its investigations, Delhi Police also discovered that armed PSOs (Personal Security Officers) commissioned with the Punjab Police were accompanying the Chadha brothers beyond their jurisdiction.
An intervention from the Home Ministry has been sought as to why Delhi Police was not intimated.