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CHADHA DOWNFALL: Business Family That Ruled Chief Khalsa Diwan For 14 Years Meets Sad End

Formerly, the family was widely known for its hold over the liquor business. At present, it owns three hotels in Amritsar, besides the noted fleet of truck, Chadha Transport.

AMRITSAR – The reign of a noted business family in the socio-religious politics of the region ended on Wednesday when Inderpreet Singh Chadha killed himself days after a video that showed his father, who has since quit as president of the Sikh body Chief Khalsa Diwan, in a sexual act with a woman.

After the death of Inderpreet, who was a former vice-president of the CKD, Harjit Singh is the only other son of Charanjit Singh Chadha besides a daughter. Formerly, the family was widely known for its hold over the liquor business. At present, it owns three hotels in Amritsar, besides the noted fleet of truck, Chadha Transport. They are also into real estate and manufacturing of tyres.

Related to liquor baron Ponty Chadha, who was shot in a crossfire along with his brother Hardeep Singh in 2012, the family has houses in Chandigarh and New Delhi.

Although Charanjit Chadha had long been member of the CKD, he came into the limelight after he took over as president with support of the then Akal Takht jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti in 2004. Gradually, he started building his monopoly over the 115-year-old organisation, which was part of the Singh Sabha movement launched during British rule in India to spread Sikhism and 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 got amended its constitution. During his tenure, he tried to corner his opponents within the organisation and expelled some old members including honourary secretary Bhag Singh Ankhi and former Akali minister Manjit Singh Calcutta. His son Harjit was made a joint secretary of the CKD.

To those touched by his charity at PGIMER, Inderpreet was godfather

His opponents had been alleging that he turned the CKD into “Chadha and Company”, and diverted from its motive that was to impart education and propagate Sikhism.

Inderpreet’s elder son Anmol Singh’s wedding ceremony and lavish reception were organised at a hotel in Dubai, and Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had attended too.

Though Chadha did not have direct affiliation to any political party, he is considered close to Akali patriarch and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal with whose support he tightened his grip on the CKD. He was also inducted as vice-president of Khalsa College Governing Council that manages Amritsar’s legendary Khalsa College. He used to invite BJP leaders, including Union finance minister Arun Jaitley who had lost the Lok Sabah election from Amritsar, at functions of CKD’s institutions.

When the Congress got power in Punjab after the assembly elections last year, he sought to enhance his proximity with the new CM, Captain Amarinder Singh, and met him, sources said.

Influence of the family can be judged from the fact that the police were slow in taking action against Chadha and his son in the case registered on a complaint by the woman. Chadha remains to be arrested, and unconfirmed reports said he even visited the hospital where Inderpreet was taken on Wednesday.

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