Escorts Group chairman Rajan Nanda (76) passed away at a hospital in Gurgaon on Sunday night. He is survived by his wife Ritu Nanda — eldest daughter of late Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor — and two children, Nikhil and Natasha. Nikhil Nanda is married to Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan’s daughter Shweta Bachchan Nanda and currently holds the position of managing director at Escorts Limited.
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 HP 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, which today is the bedrock for innovation and new product development.
On hearing of Nanda’s demise, Amitabh Bachchan, who was filming ‘Brahmastra’ in Bulgaria, is returning to India. “My relative Mr Rajan Nanda, Nikhil’s Father, Father in Law of Shweta, .. Just passed away .. Leaving for India,” Amitabh wrote in a blog post.
CII president Rakesh Bharti Mittal said with the demise of Nanda, India has lost a powerful force and industry stalwart.
“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,” he added.
Nanda’s passion shone through in everything he did and his business acumen helped drive the manufacturing sector of the country as a whole, Mittal said.