How Mhaiskars of IRB Infrastructure made their mark through roads and tolls
IRB Infrastructure, the leading road developing company is known to one and all. Same is the case with its owner Virendra Mhaiskar, who is recognized as the toll king of Maharashtra.
The MD of Rs 3,250 crore company is an inspiration for many. He along with his brother Jayant Mhaiskar are collecting toll on 16 major roads, including some of India’s prestigious projects. The business rivals of IRB Infrastructure often praise these brothers for their success story, which is a classic example of commitment and determination. Virendra Mhaiskar also ranks 78th in the Forbes list of riches Indians for the year 2011.
IRB Infrastructure has built 19 roads, mostly in Maharashtra. Its order book is worth Rs 7,700 crore, with 16 projects in the pipeline.
The father of Virendra and Jayant, Mr Dattatraya Mhaiskar started IRB in 1977 with small road projects in Kalyan-Dombivali region. But, the company started to grow at a faster pace when Virendra Mhaiskar joined it in 1990. IRB procured Rs 104-crore project in 1995 under BOT (Build Operate Transfer) Model. It was handed the responsibility of widening and maintaining a 25 km road stretch between Bhiwandi and Thane. It also received 5 contracts from 1995–99 valued at Rs 50 crore.
However, the company shot into limelight only in 2004, when the company paid an amount of Rs 918 crore to the Mahrashtra State Road Development Corporation for the rights to collect toll on India’s first expressway built between Mumbai and Pune. Subsequently, the company was able to bag other toll contracts, including the ones floated by NHAI (National Highway Authority of India).
While IRB was going strong, Jayant Mhaiskar decided to sell a part of the equity in IRB and set up a separate company named Mumbai Entry Point Ltd, which collects toll on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
The state government was accused by Anil Ambani’s Relaince Infrastructure of favouring Mhaiskar brothers as it had decided to award a contract to MEPL for collecting toll at all 5 entry points to Mumbai for 16 years after receiving Rs 2,100 crore. Virendra Mhaiskar has also been investigated in connection with the murder of RTI activist in 2010. CBI had asked Virendra Mhaiskar to take a lie-detector test in May this year, causing IRB Infra stocks to plunge. Virendra Mhaiskar and other 2 officials from the company were named among the 10 accused. However, the company had refuted the claims and claimed that the police had given a clean chit to Virendra Mhaiskar after investigation.