PUNJAB NEWS

Killer Bus reveals all: Sukhbir Badal is a billionaire owing aircrafts

CHANDIGARH: The killer bus of Punjab owned by Chief Minister’s family has opened a pandora’s box by exposing Sukhbir Singh Badal’s business interests running into billions. The bus which carries the tag of Orbit company belongs to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. An affidavit filed by Badal with the election commission shows him as a farmer who owns only one vehicle which is an old 1999 model tractor. However Orbit company’s records reveal that Badal owns everything under the sun including modern fleet of aircrafts.Sukhbir Singh Badal is not as simple a person as people thought him to be. Voters of Punjab cast their vote for the man on the emotional appeal that he emanated by showing himself as an agriculturist in the 2012 state assembly polls where he was re-elected from the Jalalabad constituency but in reality he is business magnet.Ever since the last elections, Badal junior has displaced his own brother-in-law Gurmeher Singh Majithia (MP Harsimrat Kaur’s brother) and mother-in-law Sukhmanjus Majithia – the original shareholders – to take control of the firm called Orbit Aviation.According to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) documents, Sukhbir now holds shares in Orbit Aviation in three different ways: 5,000 direct shares, about 2 crore shares through his hospitality firm Orbit Resorts and 41 lakh shares through his media firm called G-Next Media Private Limited.Orbit Resorts is the parent company with net assets of Rs 735 crore as of 2013 that has now Sukhbir’s investments in Orbit Aviation, G-Next Media and another subsidiary company called Gur-baz Media.Badal’s aviation company has three flying machines – an eight-seater Cessna 525A jet, another eight-seater Super King Air B 200 and a helicopter Bell 429.Orbit Aviation has its registered address at 159, Industrial Area, Phase 2 in Chandigarh.“The company is engaged in the carrying of passengers by air and bus,” the RoC document submitted by Orbit Aviation says.
Sukhbir, known for running the Punjab government like a CEO, had first acquired 10.05 lakh shares in 201 1 from his in-laws. Gurmeher and Sukhmanjus had transferred their respective 10 lakh shares and 5,000 shares to Sukhbir on November 11, 2011, just two months before assembly elections were held in Punjab.
However, on March 19, 2013, Sukhbir transferred his 10 lakh shares to his own firm G-next Media Private Limited and retained 5,000 direct shares and also pumped in more money in the aviation company through a fresh set of 3,120,000 shares held by the same media firm.
This company has two more shareholders – brothers Mohammad Jameel and Mohammad Rafiq, who hail from the Badal’s wife,Harsimrat’s home district Bathinda and hold about a lakh and 13,249 shares in the firm.