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Subrata Roy, ‘Bad Boy Billionaire’ and Chief of India’s Sahara Group, Dies at 75

Subrata Roy, the founder of Sahara, once one of India’s largest conglomerates, died on Tuesday, his company said in a statement. He was 75.

Roy died in a Mumbai hospital following “an extended battle with complications arising from metastatic malignancy, hypertension, and diabetes,” the statement said.

Roy was admitted to hospital on Sunday, according to the company, which described him as a “guiding force, a mentor, and a source of inspiration.”

“His loss will be deeply felt by the entire Sahara India Pariwar,” it added, referring to the full name of the group.

It was founded by Roy in 1978 and operates in sectors including real estate, banking, manufacturing and media.

At one point, it was India’s largest private sector employer. The company sponsored the Indian national cricket team and owned a stake in India’s Formula One team, on top of purchasing luxury hotels in London and New York.

Considered one of the country’s most flamboyant tycoons, Roy rubbed shoulders with the Indian elite, including Bollywood superstars and high-profile politicians.

But he had been embroiled in controversy and was involved in a lengthy legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the securities regulator, over the repayment of billions of dollars to investors. In 2012, India’s Supreme Court ruled the group had raised funds through illegal bonds.

He was arrested in 2014 and has been on bail since 2016, according to Reuters. Roy denied any wrongdoing.

Roy’s story and legal battles were featured in the Netflix docuseries “Bad Boy Billionaires,” which chronicled the rise and fall of four Indian businessmen, accused of corruption. All deny the claims.

Since news of his death broke, tributes to Roy have flooded social media.

“Heartbroken to learn about the passing of Sahara Shri Subrata Roy,” former Indian Olympian PV Sindhu wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Rest in peace, dear uncle. Cherishing fond memories of the time spent with you and aunty every time I visited Lucknow. You always treated me with nothing but love, affection, and respect.”

Indian actor Anupam Kher wrote: “He was always ready to help, kind and larger than life. May god rest his soul in peace.”

Roy is survived by his wife and two children.