Subrata Roy, the Chairman of Sahara Group, has passed away at the age of 75 in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Hospital. The cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest following a prolonged illness, including complications from metastatic malignancy, hypertension, and diabetes.
Roy, a prominent figure in retail, real estate, and finance, built a vast business empire, facing controversies and legal battles throughout his career, notably over alleged Ponzi schemes by his group firms. The Sahara Group denied these allegations.
Admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Sunday as his health worsened, Roy succumbed to the complications on Tuesday at 10.30 pm. The company expressed deep sorrow, describing him as an “inspirational leader and visionary.” Sahara India Pariwar pledged to uphold Roy’s legacy and continue his vision for the organization.
In his prime, Roy transformed Sahara into a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with a significant presence in various sectors, including finance, housing, manufacturing, aviation, and media. The group owned notable global properties such as New York’s Plaza Hotel and London’s Grosvenor House. Roy was known for his connections with influential figures in politics and Bollywood.
Roy’s legal challenges began in 2010 when the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) restricted Sahara Group entities from raising funds from equity markets. In 2014, the Supreme Court ordered Roy’s arrest for contempt due to non-refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to investors. Despite bail, troubles persisted for his businesses.
The Sahara Group, under Roy’s leadership, sponsored Indian cricket and hockey teams and owned a Formula One racing team. However, controversies arose regarding fund mobilization through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD). The Supreme Court, in 2012, ordered a refund of deposits to investors along with interest, leading to Sahara depositing an estimated Rs 24,000 crore with SEBI.
Roy’s unique response to a demand for proof of repayment involved sending 100 truckloads of documents to SEBI, creating a warehousing crisis. Despite challenges and legal battles, the Sahara Group emphasized its contribution to employment and human capital in India.
Subrata Roy’s demise marks the end of an era in the business world, leaving behind a legacy that encompasses both achievements and controversies.