Although the media has adopted a neutral position on the issue of the widely reported divorce drama between Gautam Singhania, big boss of the Mumbai-based Raymond Ltd — billed as the world’s largest men’s suiting manufacturer — and his wife of 32 years Nawaz Mody, there’s undoubtedly a nasty streak in this textiles tycoon who is being taken to the cleaners by Mody who is demanding 75 percent of his shareholding in the company valued at Rs.8,701 crore.
For past few months, Mumbai’s cocktail circuit has been abuzz with tales of the Raymond Man who reportedly has serious anger management issues, berating and beating up his wife, and often their two daughters. The scales of opinion within the Maximum City’s glitterati seem to tilt towards Mody, a beauteous former fashion model who tied the knot with the Raymonds heir despite the latter being afflicted with a rare dermatological problem — vitiligo, aka leucoderma.
However, he must have possessed a modicum of charm because in 2016 he persuaded his father Vijaypat Singhania, the founder-chairman and MD of Raymond, to transfer his 37 percent equity in the publicly listed Raymond Ltd (sales: Rs.8,300 crore in 2023-24) when the octogenarian pere decided to hang up his customised suits and step down as chairman of the company. Again, instead of genuflecting with gratitude, the perfidious Gautam turfed him out of the company flat in Mumbai’s tony Breach Candy. And mind you Vijaypat is a man of no mean achievements. After dutifully developing Raymond into a multi-million dollar enterprise with his father Lala Kailashpat, in 1988 Vijaypat piloted a single seater airplane all the way from the UK to India, a feat which attracted banner headlines in the media.
Unsurprisingly, the elder Singhania is squarely on the side of his daughter-in-law and grand-daughters. The latest news is that the fractious couple is about to reach a “more reasonable” settlement. That would be a disappointment to many waiting to see this bad advertisement for the Raymond Man getting his comeuppance.