Suits & sayings: Weekly ET roundup of corporate gossips

Midweek turned out to be hectic for the jetsetters of Mumbai and Delhi, who were invited to at least two mega functions in the country’s commercial capital.

The fitness bug has really caught on among corporates. (Representative Image)
At last week’s wedding of veteran banker Vimal Bhandari’s daughter with industrialist Mukesh Gupta’s son, one topic of discussion was Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS). Some whispered the total dues of the debt-ridden financial services firm could amount to more than Rs 91,000 crore. Others blamed its woes on the erstwhile top management. But no one was able to eavesdrop on the chat between two luminaries discussing the future course of action at IL&FS — current chairman and veteran banker Uday Kotak and ace investment banker Rajeev Gupta. They have been mandated to clear up the mess.

No Comment
Staying with the marriage reception, one of the heads of an American investment bank declined to comment after a veteran finance wizard quizzed him about his rumoured elevation to the top post, with his successful boss having completed a three-term stint at the helm. He neither confirmed nor denied the buzz. It appears, though, that his boss will remain the captain and the number two will have to bide his time.

Token Fee
At the reception, veteran CFO and investor Anil Singhvi, known for calling a spade a spade, challenged one of the past presidents of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to help bring about more accountability and stability to IL&FS for a token salary of one rupee. We don’t know what the response was.

Flying High
In 2007, this all-powerful gent gifted his wife a $60-million private jet for her birthday. Aviation circles are now abuzz with talk that he wants to buy a possibly bigger and fancier corporate jet from another vendor. We don’t know if it’s for his personal use or whether it’s going to be a gift for his son, who’s scheduled to get married this year. We’ll let you know once the deal is about to take off.

Good Vibrations
This media baron, who has decided on a clearance sale of assets across a diversified portfolio, is a great believer in vaastu. It seems he’s not been happy with the swanky new corporate office in midtown Mumbai and has moved back to the old one, not so far away. Guess when you are in the market to get the best deal, divine interference and planetary positions do matter a lot.

The fitness bug has really caught on among corporates. This real estate billionaire, patron of the arts and also doting father, has decided to have not one, but three, tennis courts in one of the upscale condominiums his group is building in Mumbai, since his son is a tennis nut. That will be a smash hit for sure.

Parties Galore
Midweek turned out to be hectic for the jetsetters of Mumbai and Delhi, who were invited to at least two mega functions in the country’s commercial capital. Former Tata Motors boss Ravi Kant’s daughter was tying the knot and the father of the bride and her uncle, super bureaucrat Amitabh Kant, had invited some of their heavy hitter friends. On the same day, Sanjay Nayar of KKR threw a bash on behalf of the firm for the first time ever, to ring in the new year and perceivably kill all the wild speculation that has been engulfing the fund for the past several years. Several guests were invited to both and we found them crisscrossing the city.

Bow Wow
When Delhi-based fashion designer Rohit Bal chose Bandra fort for the launch of his new Gulfasta collection, we were pleasantly surprised. Bal’s tribute to rose was enhanced by Shubha Mudgal’s voice. The fashionistas were all enthralled, as was Atul Punj, there to cheer wife Vasuki, who was one of the 50 models who walked the ramp. But the showstopper turned out to be a stray dog, who inadvertently came on stage and sashayed down the catwalk. That video had to go viral.

Ivy League Beckons
As parents, super achievers will want the best education for their kids. When the University of Pennsylvania’s dean, along with some senior staff members, flew down to India recently, it was the turn of alum Hetal Meswani to host a private dinner for them, that saw several of his peers turn up. Parents will be parents.

Blind Swim
Last week, this column had reported on swimming hero Michael Phelps being guest speaker at a private equity fund’s annual event. A select 40 were lucky enough to break bread with him too — Harsh Goenka, Harsh Mariwala and sports entrepreneur Vita Dani among them. Phelps told guests that his coach had trained him to swim blind, a technique that came in handy at the Beijing Olympics — when the goggles leaked and failed to prevent water from entering.

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