Tractors sit in a lot awaiting shipment at a plant in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News)

Escorts Group Chairman Rajan Nanda Passes Away

Rajan Nanda (76), chairman of tractor and construction equipment maker Escorts and father-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan's daughter Shweta, died last night after a brief illness.

Nanda, who joined Escorts in 1965 at the age of 23 and took over the reins of the company when his father and founder chairman H P Nanda stepped down in 1994 after a 50-year long innings, died at the Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.

Incidentally, Medanta was founded by renowned cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan who once used to run the Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre owned by Rajan. The hospital was sold to Fortis in 2005 to bring down debt at Escorts.

He also dabbled in the telecom industry, launching cellular services in west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Kerala under the Escotel brand in 1997. He, however, had to sell the business to Idea Cellular in 2004 at a loss as it could not compete with players with deep pockets.

It was under his stewardship that new technologies were introduced in various businesses to spearhead the growth to the next level. Nanda was also instrumental in setting up an R&D facility for Escorts at Faridabad.

Amitabh Bachchan, who was filming 'Brahmastra' in Bulgaria, is returning to India on hearing of demise. His daughter, Shweta is married to Nanda's son, Nikhil. Nikhil is managing director of the company.

CII has had the benefit of his visionary thoughts and guidance from time to time on policy matters to move industry always in a progressive way in the country, specially agriculture. His style of functioning included innovative ideas and strong engagement with all in a consensual manner.
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, CII President