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For Ramesh Parikh, ambition was the spice of life Wednesday, April 4, 2001
It has almost been a rags-to-riches story for Ramesh Parikh, chairman of the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd (MMCB) who has been running rings around the authorities lately.
From a kirana merchant-cum-commission agent in turmeric to owner of a spice factory to a banker to chairman of a group of companies, Parikh’s career graph shows a phenomenal rise.
Hailing from Bhavnagar, Parikh started business from his relative’s spice firms, Thakarshi Chunilal and Thakarshi Babulal, in Madhupura Market in the mid ‘60s.
An ambitious Commerce graduate, Parikh was not content with being a kirana merchant-cum-commission agent though he stuck with this for about a decade. Soon he set up Gujarat Spices in Naroda area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
He had to stick to the spice business as his experiments with gutkha manufacture failed. His gutkha product could not compete with the established brands and the project had to be abandoned.
But that didn’t prove a deterrent. Over time, he earned considerable clout in the Spice Merchants’ Association ‘and by 1970, he became instrumental in the setting up of a co-operative bank named Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd (MMCB), a bank for and of spice and grocery merchants. Parikh as founder director of MMCB was made its managing director with veteran spice merchant Babubhai Manilal Gandhi founder chairman. Devendra Pandya, who is now the chief executive officer of this bank, was then its general manager.
After Babubhai Gandhi’s death in 1989, Parikh took charge of the bank as its chairman, the post he has been holding till date. When he became chairman, he did not forget his Old Faithful Devendra Pandya whom he made chief executive officer. According to a member of thenMMCB’s credit committee, consultations with other directors in the bank are a rarity to this date as most of decisions are taken by the Parikh-Pandya duo.
Within a short time of assuming charge as chairman of MMCB, Parikh became president of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the early 1990s. This added to his goodwill in the market and established him further as captain of trade and industry. Setting his sights higher, he launched a public limited company Madhur Food Products Ltd and brought out a public issue.
This was followed by launch of Madhur Securities as his interest in the capital market grew with time and his speculative nature only fuelled his ambitions. His son Vinit helped him fulfil those ambitions.
Parikh used to stay at a posh bungalow located, at Stadium Circle which later turned became his corporate office. He shifted residence to Satellite area from where he ultimately moved to Bopal. He also set up a supermarket in the basement of his corporate office. Named Madhur Super Market, this supermarket had to be closed down later. Today, the MMCB has 27 branches and more branches were in the pipeline at Bhuj and Jamnagar but now a pall of uncertainty looms over its future amid reports of possible liquidation. Parikh, meanwhile, is absconding.