Who Are the ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’ of India?

Bad Boy Billionaire

Netflix original documentary, Bad Boy Billionaires: India, focuses on the lives of four prominent business magnates of India.

The investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up — and ultimately brought down — India’s most infamous tycoons.

The series, which premiered on Netflix in October, almost wasn’t allowed to be released after B Ramalinga Raju, founder of Satyam Computer Services (one of the disgraced tycoons featured in the docuseries) filed a case in a Hyderabad Civil Court, restraining Netflix from streaming the series.

Subrata Roy, the chairman of the Sahara Conglomerate, also took the streaming service to court claiming that “the aim of the series is to malign his public image by featuring him alongside fugitive billionaires such as Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi”.

On October 9, Netflix won the legal battle and the right to stream the series — albeit, Raju’s episode which still faces a challenge in another local court.

Let’s take a look at the Indian “bad boy billionaires” covered in the series.

Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya is an Indian businessman who once owned Kingfisher Airlines and former member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) who is accused of fraud and money laundering.

According to Business Standard, the 64-year-old owes 17 Indian banks an estimated $1.7 million AUD.

Mallya is the ex-chairman of United Spirits, Sanofi India and Bayer CropScience and currently serves as chairman of the United Breweries Group.

At present, the former billionaire (he lost his billionaire status in 2012), is fighting extradition back to India from the UK with his former airline, proving to be his downfall.

Following the collapse of the company, he fled to the UK in 2016 — the day a slew of public sector banks moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal against him and in January 2019, was declared a fugitive economic offender.

Before leaving India, Mallya wrote an open letter saying that “all enquiries conducted have failed to find evidence of misappropriation of funds by Kingfisher Airlines or myself”.

“Despite pledging blue-chip securities and depositing significant amounts in court, a successful disinformation campaign has ensured my becoming the poster boy of all bank NPAs.”

Mallya has since announced that he would make good on his debts, something he has not yet done.

Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya. Getty Images.

Nirav Modi

Diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi was accused in February 2018 by Indian Punjab National Bank (PNB) of perpetrating an estimated $2 billion fraud —  the largest financial fraud in the country’s history.

According to Forbes, Modi left India a month prior with India’s Central Bureau of Investigation working with Interpol to find him.

The bank had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that there were some “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” amounting to approximately $1.1 million coming out of a branch in Mumbai.

The PNB then made two complaints against Modi and his jewellery company, alleging fraudulent transactions ($2.16 million AUD) in addition to another case he was already under investigation for.

In March 2019, Modi was arrested in London and after auctioning off some of his art collection, Indian Tax Authorities raised over $11 million AUD.

Currently, after several bail attempts, Modi is serving a sentence in the UK waiting to be extradited back to India.

Nirav Modi. Getty Images.

Subrata Roy

The 72-year-old chairman of a huge Indian conglomerate, Subrata Roy, was accused of money laundering and scamming investors out of nearly $5.5 billion AUD — a claim he denied.

He is the Managing Worker and Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, an Indian conglomerate with diversified businesses and assets which was founded in 1978.

In 2004, the Sahara group employed the second-largest amount of people in India and operated in more than 5,000 establishments. Then in 2012, Roy was named one of the 10 Most Powerful People in India.

In February 2014, the Supreme Court of India ordered the capture of Roy for failing to appear in court over a legal dispute with Market Regulator –  Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). According to his lawyer, Roy’s mother needed “her eldest son” due to ill health which was why he didn’t show up.

He was asked to deposit $139,248,600 AUD to SEBI, however, he failed to do so.

In 2017, Roy was released on parole after serving a two-year sentence for non-payment of dues and was allowed to sell assets to raise the money to pay SEBI back.

As of 2019, the businessman still owed SEBI $147,879,475 AUD — half of what he was initially jailed for.

According to The Wire, in August 2020, Roy took Netflix to a local court in Bihar ordering “an interim stay on its broadcasting” by using Roy’s name.

The stay was given until August 28 with the streaming service making it to the Supreme Court where they were granted the allowance to airing it.

Subrata Roy
Subrata Roy. Getty Images.

Stream Bad Boy Billionaires: India on Netflix now. 

WATCH: The official Bad Boy Billionaires: India trailer.

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