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NEWSMAKERS AND BIZ NEWSMAKERS OF 2007

biz-news-makers-6Many created waves and stole headlines both for the right reasons and wrong ones. We have crafted a special segment to bring to you the newsmakers of 2007 and news makers in the business world. ANBUMANI RAMADOSS Be it the ban on onscreen smoking or the face-off with All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr R Venugopal , or his recent startling revelation that four chief ministers and many MPs approached him asking him not to enforce graphic warnings on cigarette packets, Dr A Ramadoss is never far from the headlines. DAYANIDHI MARAN Maran was chosen as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. In just days shy of three years as minister, Dayanidhi had harnessed more than $10 billion in investments into the country. The beginning of his end was when he allegedly tried to arm-twist the Tatas into parting with 33 per cent shares of their ambitious Direct-to-Home project, seriously denting his image. DOCTOR MOHAMMED HANEEF An Indian doctor blows up a truck at Glasgow airport and soon the Australian police stops another Indian-origin doctor trying to leave the country with a one-way ticket to India. After high political drama and quiet that followed the case, Dr Haneef is allowed to leave for India. GURMEET SINGH This year newspapers in Punjab carried an advertisement depicting Gurmeet Singh, the leader of a religious sect, the Dera Sacha Sauda, alike the revered Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. The resulting sectarian violence cost at least one life, injured many, ruined many businesses. Although an apology was issued, the damage had already been done for the Sacha Sauda. Murder and rape charges were flung at Gurmeet Singh and cases were filed. That single ad hastened the fall of a man powerful enough in his own little fiefdom. JUDGE P D KODE In 2007, history was made as Judge Kode began delivering convictions and sentences to 123 people in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case. This was the first-ever instance where the perpetrators of a major terror attack were brought to book. He also showed his humane side, permitting convicts to go on Haj, and allowing small comforts like fans and television sets the inmates one of the country’s highest security prisons. The next time you think justice, think Judge Kode, the man who proved that not always is delayed justice denied justice. MOHAMMED SHAHABUDDIN With over 30 cases of murder and other charges pending against him, Shahabuddin had lorded over his home stretch in Bihar for years. But 2007 saw him being convicted for life in a kidnapping case and a two-year sentence in an assault case. TASLIMA NASREEN She was attacked at the Hyderabad Press Club, when she arrived there for the launch of her book Shodh in Telugu. After being moved from one state to another for her safety, she finally agrees to withdraw the controversial lines in her book that sparked the furore. For now she seems to have found her peace. ANAND MAHINDRA For Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, 2007 has been an extraordinary year. From manufacturing army vehicles and tractors, the Mahindra group has made rapid strides to become India’s major force in the SUV (sports utility vehicle) and passenger car segments. The most significant decision that Mahindra took in 2007 was leading M&M’s entry into the passenger car market, launching the Logan in a tie-up with Renault. PRAFUL PATEL One can safely state that Minister Praful Patel has changed Indian civil aviation sector. The reformist minister has helped drive the privatisation of Mumbai and New Delhi’s airports. Recently he also oversaw a Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 500 billion) deal to buy Air India a brand new fleet. S GOPALKRISHNAN S Gopalakrishnan became Infosys Technologies Ltd’s new chief executive officer this year. Infosys has bagged some major deals in China and other nations during the last three months, giving a clear indication that Gopalakrishnan wants to rebalance the company’s revenue contributions in favour of non-US geographies. KAMAL NATH Kamal Nath, Union minister for commerce and industry, was named FDI Personality of the Year 2007 for his active efforts to attract foreign businesses to India. He was instrumental in fine-tuning the Special Economic Zones Bill. He has also junked the Exim Policy and put in place a new Foreign Trade Policy 2004-2009. CAPTAIN GOPINATH For Captain G R Gopinath, it was a momentous year for a wholly different reason. Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines bought a 26% stake in Deccan Aviation for Rs 550 crore (Rs 5.50 billion) in June. After the Deccan buyout, the combine commands a market share of about 28.9%, inching close to Jet Airways. On December 20, Kingfisher and Air Deccan decided to merge. The merger, whenever it goes through, will create the largest airline in the domestic aviation market and also pave the way for Kingfisher to fly overseas. VIJAY MALLYA The flamboyant Vijay Mallya, chairman of the United Breweries Group and Kingfisher Airlines, had an eventful year. Apart from buying out Air Deccan and now moving ahead to merge it with Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya had another reason to be proud: His United Spirits acquired Scottish beverage maker Whyte and Mackay for $1.2 billion. Also, this year, Mallya’s personal net worth crossed the $1.5 billion mark, making him one of the richest men around. RATAN NAVAL TATA Ratan Naval Tata, the chairman of Tata Group has led India’s largest corporate house to the nation’s biggest overseas acquisition on January 31. Tata’s brainchild, the Rs 1 lakh People’s Car was one of the most hotly discussed and debated issues of 2007. The company has gone ahead and bid $2.05 billion to buy out British marquees Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford. VIKRAM PANDIT Vikram S Pandit was appointed chief executive officer of Citigroup, the world’s largest financial services organisation, on December 11. A cerebral strategist with a degree in electrical engineering, he is said to be one of the best minds in the business.

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