Mumbai-Subrata Roy, the founder of Sahara India Pariwar, passed away on Wednesday, November 14, at the age of 75. He had been battling a prolonged illness and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai.
Roy was a prominent figure in the Indian business landscape, having established a vast empire that spanned various sectors including finance, real estate, media, and hospitality. Under his leadership, Sahara grew into one of India's largest conglomerates, employing millions of people and touching the lives of countless individuals.
Born in Araria, Bihar, in 1948, Roy's journey began with his education in mechanical engineering. He ventured into business in Gorakhpur before taking over Sahara Finance, a struggling chit fund company, in 1976. Under his guidance, Sahara transformed into a financial powerhouse, expanding into diverse industries and capturing a significant share of the Indian market.
Roy's entrepreneurial spirit extended beyond finance, leading him to establish Sahara Media and Entertainment Limited, which launched the Hindi language newspaper Rashtriya Sahara and the television channel Sahara One. He also made international headlines with the acquisition of iconic properties such as London's Grosvenor House Hotel and New York City's Plaza Hotel.
Despite his business successes, Roy faced legal challenges throughout his career. In 2014, he was detained by the Supreme Court of India for failing to appear in court in connection with a dispute with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The case revolved around SEBI's demand for Sahara to refund billions of rupees to investors, leading to a protracted legal battle that saw Roy spend time in jail.
Despite these challenges, Roy's contributions to the Indian business world remain undeniable. He received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate in business leadership from the University of East London and the Business Icon of the Year award at the Power Brands Hall of Fame Awards in London. He was also featured regularly in the India Today list of the most powerful people in India.
In his later years, Roy continued to explore new ventures, establishing Sahara Evols, which offered a range of electric vehicles, and plans to enter the online education sector with Edunguru.
Subrata Roy's legacy is one of both remarkable achievements and notable controversies. He was a visionary entrepreneur who built a vast business empire, but also faced legal challenges that cast a shadow over his accomplishments. Nevertheless, his impact on the Indian business landscape and the lives of millions of people is undeniable.
As the Sahara Group mourns the loss of its founder, the memory of Subrata Roy's vision and entrepreneurial spirit will continue to inspire and shape the Indian business landscape for years to come.