Subrata Roy, the founder and chairperson of the Sahara India Pariwar, died at the age of 75 in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. His death marks the end of an era for the Indian business landscape, where he was known for his vast empire that spanned various sectors including finance, media, entertainment, and real estate.

Who is Subrata Roy

Subrata Roy was an Indian businessman who founded the business conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar in 1978.

Sahara India Pariwar operated a vast number of businesses, such as Aamby Valley City, Sahara Movie Studios, Air Sahara, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, and Filmy, among others.

Subrata Roy was born into a Bengali Hindu family in Araria on 10 June 1948 to Sudhir Chandra Roy and Chhabi Roy. His father and mother came from Dhaka, Bikrampur, East Bengal from a rich landlord family named Bhagyakul Zamindar.


Roy studied at Holy Child Institute in Kolkata and later studied mechanical engineering at Government Technical Institute, Gorakhpur. Roy started his first business in Gorakhpur.

Born10 June 1948
Araria, Bihar, India
14 November 2023 (aged 75)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
EducationMechanical engineering
Occupation(s)   Founder and Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar
SpouseSwapna Roy
Children             Two


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) accused Sahara of raising funds through Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCDs) without proper approvals. This led to a directive from SEBI in 2011 for two Sahara companies to refund the money raised from investors.

The legal battle culminated in Roy’s arrest in March 2014, and he spent time in Tihar Jail before being released on parole in 2017. The scandal tarnished the reputation of the Sahara group and Roy, who once enjoyed a larger-than-life status, hosting lavish events and rubbing shoulders with celebrities and politicians.

Despite the controversies, Roy’s impact on the Indian economy and his role in providing financial services to the unbanked segments of society was conspicuous. His humanitarian efforts included contributions to disaster relief during the Uttarakhand floods and support to the families of Kargil War martyrs.

His life story remains a testament to the complexities of ambition, power, and the consequences of corporate governance in India’s evolving economic narrative.

Business Career

In the 1990s, Roy moved to Lucknow which became the base of his group. From there, it went on to become the largest conglomerate of India with a diversified range of business interests. The company now has interests in financial services, education, real estate, media, entertainment, tourism, healthcare, and hospitality.

The Hindi language newspaper Rashtriya Sahara was started in 1992. In the late 1990s, the ambitious Aamby Valley City project near Pune was initiated. In 2000, Sahara TV was launched which was later renamed Sahara One. In 2003, Sahara started three weeklies: Sahara Time (English), Sahara Samay (Hindi), and Sahara Aalmi (Urdu)

In 2010, Sahara purchased the iconic Grosvenor House Hotel in London, and then in 2012 the historic Plaza Hotel and Dream Downtown Hotel in New York City.


Sahara has a workforce of around 1.2 million including salaried employees, consultants, field workers, agents, business associates, etc.  In 2004, Sahara Group was termed by Time magazine as “the second-largest employer in India” after the Government-run Indian Railways.

Sahara is said to have nine crore plus investors and depositors, representing about 13% of all households in India

Awards and honours

Roy received an honorary doctorate in business leadership from the University of East London in 2013, a Business Icon of the Year award at the Powerbrands Hall of Fame Awards in London in 2011 was the ITA – TV Icon of the Year in 2007. He received the Global Leadership Award in 2004.

Roy was awarded a general jury award by the Indian Television Academy Awards and an honorary degree of D.Litt. by Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga.

Roy featured regularly in the India Today list of 50 Most Powerful People of India since 2003 and was named its tenth-most influential businessman in 2012.


Roy died due to cardiorespiratory arrest following an extended battle with complications arising from metastatic malignancy, hypertension, and diabetes on 14 November 2023, at age 75. He had been admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute in Mumbai on 12 November following a decline in health.


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