His wealth is pegged at Rs 70,000 crore, it has more than doubled over the past year.
Acharya Balkrishna, De-Facto Chief of one of country’s fastest growing consumer goods companies Patanjali Ayurved became talk of town since his entry into top league of the fat cats around a year ago.
In the recently released Hurun India Rich List has revealed that Balkrishna at age of 45 years, is at number eight, has closed in on the tycoons like Gautam Adani, one rank above, and leap-frogged in well-known personalities like Telecom Baron Sunil Mittal, who is two ranks below.
Growth in Balkrishna’s wealth is certainly eye-catching. Pegged at Rs 70,000 crore, it has more than doubled over in past year.
Soft-spoken MD of Patanjali would be mistaken for common or garden variety of the corporate tycoons. In fact, he is a man of contrasts.
His day starts early with the traditional yoga asanas at Firm’s Headquarters in Haridwar, white dhoti-kurta clad acharya travels in the specially designed milk-white Range Rover SUV with the armed security guards. A fleet of vehicles, both security and civil, precede and follow him.
He owns close to 94 per cent of shares of the Patanjali Ayurved, an unlisted company, does not, however, take a salary or receive the dividends. He sits on Board of over two dozen companies, most of them Patanjali enterprises. But his work station doesn’t have a computer. His only prized possession to the date remains an Apple iPhone.
Born to Sumitra Devi and Jay Vallabh in the year 1972, a Nepalese couple, Balkrishna’s rise can be traced to late 1980s when he first met charismatic, uncontroversial, yoga guru and emerging “Godman” Baba Ramdev at the Kalwa Gurukul in Haryana.
Balkrishna’s CV lacks Management or the Engineering Degrees. His formal education is confined to Sanskrit Literature and Courses on the Ayurveda. But that does not seem to have hindered his ascent to summit of the corporate India.
In fact, he was an unknown entity until the launch of Patanjali products and their stunning success in the market. It was his guide-cum-philosopher, Baba Ramdev, who grabbed the headlines, for reasons that had little to do with business.
Unlisted Company did not file its recent accounts with Registrar of Companies and its products are not subject to usual standards of the certifications. Yet it has been able to raise loans of Rs 320 crore from the banks, and plans to borrow another Rs 5,000 crore to set up the food parks, all this at a time when the bad-debt laden banks are reluctant to lend.
Balkrishna, on whom group conferred title of Acharya, refuses to take credit for the Patanjali’s success. As he explains it, he never sought wealth or fame but was always deeply concerned about country and wanted to serve it to the best of his ability. Patanjali’s growth was outcome of this dedication, he avers.
Long, tumultuous journey, has not been without its share of the controversies.
In June 2012, he was held for forgery and fraud by the CBI but the case does not seem to have progressed since.
He is prominent among emerging cohort of the cultural ideologues who espouses a swadeshi ideology, calls for a corruption-free society and Indianisation of the Education and Culture.
Balkrishna has voluntarily renounced any sort of remuneration from Patanjali Group through a will, plans to continue serving enterprise and aims to take it to top league of the conglomerates beating all the global giants like Unilever.
If nothing else, Patanjali has proved that the “swadeshi” can be a market the disruptor.