Nikhil Gandhi - a 'Project Developer' with a difference

Vol 4, PW 5 (12 Apr 00) People & Policy

Who is Nikhil Gandhi Few outside Gujarat know the name but in Gujarat he is one of the most powerful industrialists around.

As Chairman and Managing Director of Seaking Infrastructure, Gandhi is famous for his alliance with British Gas in Gujarat Pipavav LNG (GPLNG). Still young, Gandhi celebrates his 41st birthday on 25th April.

He enjoys close links with key Gujarati politicians, including the state finance Minster Vajubhai Patel. Local journalists report that chief minister Keshubhai Patel attends most of Seaking's MOU ceremonies.

Gandhi's main contact in Delhi is Ashish Mishra, a former personal secretary to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Reliance Chairman Dhirubhai Ambani is Nikhil Gandhi's main inspiration.

Through Reliance, Gandhi met Clinton during his South Asia tour. At the age of 15, Gandhi left his family business to join a Calcutta-based stationery company.

Today his passion is Pipavav and getting people to invest in Gujarat. Amreli district - where Pipavav is located - is home to generations of his family.

Gandhi has a reputation as a 'Project Developer', albeit with a short temper. He has ambitions to be a newspaper magnate and reportedly controls the Gujarat edition of two national newspapers: Asian Age and Financial Express.

Gandhi belongs to the Jain faith and is a deeply religious man. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat and gets visibly irritated seeing people who do.

Gandhi is generous to people who stand by him and has bought all his drivers' posh flats in Mumbai. Sunday is a rest day, reserved for his family and friends.