Who doesn’t know about Patanjali? Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali is not just a household name but also India’s fastest growing FMCG brand. But do you know Baba Ramdev is merely the face of the Patanjali Empire? According to a report, as much as 94 percent of Patanjali is owned by Acharya Balakrishna. Not only this, Acharya Balakrishna has stormed into the Hurun India Rich List with a wealth of Rs 25,600 crore (around $3.8 billion). The 44-year old, who is also the CEO of Patanjali, was ranked 26 among 339 in the list with individuals having Rs 1,600 crore. “Yoga Acharya’s Patanjali took the market by storm and is eating away market share of other multinational FMCG’s. Patanjali registered a turnover of Rs 5000 crore and expects to hit Rs 10,000 crore in 2017”, says Hurun India Rich List report.
Acharya Balakrishna is a very close and trusted aide of Baba Ramdev. According to various reports, his management style differs vastly. Although Balkrishna uses an iPhone, his work station doesn’t have a computer. Attired in a traditional white kurta and dhoti, he prefers to read from printouts stacked on his desk and speaks largely in pure Hindi. He started this journey 10 years ago and never thought that Patanjali would become what it is today. “I had to take Rs 50-60 crore personal loan. Prior to this, I did not even have a personal account in a bank,” said Balkrishna. In 2011, the CBI filed a case of cheating and forgery against him, and he was even arrested. The CBI claimed his passport was issued on the basis of forged educational documents, and his ‘citizenship’ was also questioned, but he was given a clean chit for the case within two years due to lack of evidence of wrong-doing. His birthday, 4th August, is celebrated as ‘Jadi Booti Divas’ (Herb Day) in the Patanjali family.
The Hurun Report is a research unit based in China, known for its annual China-rich list. The company started its India operations in 2012.