Pawan Jhawar, the man who set up a company in the name of Tata Sons

Pawan Jhawar. Illustration: Ajay Mohanty
Pawan Jhawar, a 31-year-old businessman from a lower middle-income locality in the Howrah area of West Bengal, became an overnight sensation recently after he registered a company in the UK in the name of Tata Sons Ltd — the very name of the holding company of the 100-year-old, $103-billion-worth Tata conglomerate.

 

“Such a move is in blatant violation of all laws, including our intellectual property rights over the usage of the word Tata. We are considering legal options to strike the registration of such a company using the name Tata,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said.

 

Jhawar’s motive behind registering a company under the Tata name is unclear. He could not be contacted for this report. His family says it has no idea about his whereabouts.

 

The family lives in a 600-sq-ft rented apartment in the downtown Hat Lane of Howrah. The area is far from affluent. Jhawar’s residence, a ramshackle building in need of emergency repairs and maintenance, stands in the corner of a street that has open drains on both sides. The cement that paves the street is broken here and there. Although the area boasts of tall buildings, most of these were constructed in the 1980s and are today in a sorry state. The numerous lanes and by-lanes are dotted with houses with kiln-fired tiled roofs.

 

Jhawar’s rented flat is on the fourth floor, but the building has no elevator. A narrow, broken staircase leads to it. A family member says Jhawar is out of the city. She says she has no idea when he will return. She adds that Jhawar often goes on such trips without leaving behind a contact number.

 

But his neighbours challenge this claim. At least three shop-owners in the locality say they have seen Jhawar that day. People in the area are curious about the media’s sudden interest in him. Most of the residents are migrants labourers from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and work in the nearby factories. Other are small-time shop-owners who live here with their families. They cannot believe that someone from their locality had the means to go to the UK and register a firm.

 

People suggest that the Jhawar family does not own a car or even a scooter, which to them is highly unlikely for a businessman. In the absence of facts, several theories are floating around about what Jhawar, who is not known to socialise with the locals, does. Their best guess is that he is engaged in share trading in Kolkata’s Burrabazar area and that is his only source of income.

 

“We have observed that his (Jhawar’s) standard of living has improved,” says a shop-owner who lives adjacent to Jhawar’s apartment. Another person reasons, “It must be because of the shares he traded in. People make fortunes out of trades shares.” The neighbours in the apartment are also suspicious and want to maintain their distance.

 

Jhawar, who is the eldest of three siblings, was born in October 1986. His family moved to Howrah in the late 1980s and this has their home ever since.

 

In November 2015, Jhawar, along with three others, set up Dhulaiwala Clean India, an app-based fabric cleaning business. He joined the company’s board as a director. He later offloaded his stake in the firm and no longer holds any position in this company. Vivek Kumar Agarwal, who is said to have founded that company, could not be reached despite several attempts.

 

After the Tata conglomerate threatened to take legal action, Jhawar has dropped the name Tata Sons. The Companies House website shows that after registering a company named Tata Sons Ltd on August 7, 2017, Jhawar, who is the director of that entity and controls more than 75 per cent of the stakes, changed the name on September 18, 2017. The company is now called Jhawar and Sons Ltd.


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