17th February 2018
The future of Goa Premium Beer is in doubt, after the staff and directors in the UK all resigned, claiming to be owed three months’ back pay. The final straw for UK employees came at Christmas when owner Sachiin Joshi tweeted pictures of himself from his luxury mansion in Goa, formerly known as Kingfisher Villa, which he bought from creditors of the disgraced beer baron Vijay Mallya.
The brand’s playboy owner Joshi, is widely reported in the Indian media, to have bounced a large cheque to a business partner in India.
Rumours abound that a number of UK suppliers have issued legal proceeding for unpaid bills against Viiking Ventures UK, which markets Goa Premium Beer in Britain.
Joshi, owns the franchises of Playboy in India and Planet Bollywood Hotel in Goa. He has also made a number of Bollywood films, including a soft porn flick which he reportedly self-financed, with only limited critical success.
Raj Kundra, the husband of former UK Celebrity Big Brother winner, Shilpa Shetty’s husband and actor ,is accusing Joshi of fraud, after a cheque for Rs 40 Lakh (c£4,500) bounced. Payment was for fee for a high profile MIPL poker tournament. In response, Joshi has claimed the tournament was rigged. A spat on Twitter between the two has ensued, which has led Kundra to issue a defamation case against Joshi.
A self proclaimed “successful businessman” and “serial entrepreneur”, Joshi’s publicity machine in Mumbai reported that 2017 was his “best year ever” boasting of his private jet and a fleet of luxury cars including a Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Hummer, Mercedes and BMW.
Yet former employees tell a different story of the man who recently closed his operation in Dubai. His lifestyle, it is claimed is derived from the wealth created by the business empire of his father, Jagdish Joshi.
One former member of Sachiin’s team in London described Joshi as a “spoilt brat, with no leadership skills or business acumen,” who would demand everyone cancel their plans for a hastily convened meetings in London. It is reported he would invariably turn up late, ignore the assembled gathering, sitting at the back of the room playing with his mobile, before demotivating the team with criticism and negativity – then fail to fulfil promises to invest in marketing or improved production facilities.
Vikiing Ventures office near Harrow was hurriedly vacated in January, the telephone remains unanswered and contact details on the website have been removed. The company has declined to make a statement.