Subhash Chandra

Subhash Chandra Goenka (born 30 November 1950) is an Indian billionaire media baron. He is the chairman of the Essel Group, an Indian media conglomerate and founded Zee TV in 1992. He was also the chairman of Zee Media but resigned as Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the company on 24 May 2016.[3][4][5] He was elected to the Upper House of the Indian parliament for the Haryana state in the 2016 Rajya Sabha election, as an independent candidate supported by legislators from the Bharatiya Janata Party.[6][7]

Subhash Chandra
Subhash Chandra in 2018
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha[1]
In office
2 August 2016 [2]  1 August 2022
Preceded bySuresh Prabhu
Personal details
Born (1950-11-30) 30 November 1950
Adampur, Punjab, India
(Present-day Haryana, India)
SpouseSushila Devi
ChildrenPunit Goenka
Amit Goenka
Pooja Dixit
Residence(s)Mumbai, Maharashtra
OccupationChairman of Essel Group

On 31 May 2022 Subhash Chandra filed his nomination from Rajasthan for elections to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent candidate backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, but he lost the election.

Early years

Subhash Chandra is born in an Agarwal Bania family[8] in Adampur, Hisar district, Haryana.[9] Forbes India notes that Chandra was born in Rajasthan, and moved with his family to Hisar during his childhood.[10] His family had a debt of ₹3.5 lakh, which he had to repay. His family could not afford his higher education, and in 1965 he dropped out of school to join the family business of commission agents and traders who procured and supplied rice to the Food Corporation of India.

In the 1980s, he started manufacturing flexible packaging (mainly plastic tubes) for fast moving consumer goods such as toothpaste under the brand name Essel Packaging. He followed it up with a leisure park Essel World in north Mumbai.

In 1992, he launched Zee TV, the second private commercial television channel in the country in association with Star TV in Hong Kong, and in 2003, Dish TV, the first satellite television provider in India.[11][12]


Chandra launched India's first satellite TV channel, Zee TV, in 1992.[13] The channel competes with, among others, Sony Entertainment Television and STAR Plus. Currently, the Zee TV network, consists of up to 90 channels, reaching 1.3 billion people spread over 174 countries.[14]

In 2005, in collaboration with Dainik Bhaskar group, Chandra launched an English-language daily newspaper, DNA, in Mumbai to challenge the well-settled The Times of India. The competition was one of the biggest newspaper battles of Mumbai. Sustaining earlier losses, the newspaper eventually turned around.[15] However, by October 2019, DNA was defunct and completely shut down.[16]

On 25 November 2019, Chandra had to resign as chairman of his company Zee Entertainment Enterprises, as per the SEBI Listing Regulations.[17] However, he still continues as a non-executive director of the company.[18]

In his autobiography ‘The Z factor: My journey as the wrong man at the right time’, Chandra has written about his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, ideological parent of the BJP, in his younger days. Chandra claimed the support of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators and said he had others across party lines.[19]

On 22 May 2020, Essel Group defaulted 616 INR Crore secured NCD Bonds with standstill agreement along with Subhash Chandra Personal Guarantee thus affecting 3,00,000 investors.

In August 2020, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) appointed promoter Subhash Chandra as chairman emeritus, following his resignation as non-executive director of the firm. Subhash Chandra, who was previously chairman, would now continue to be associated with the business in an honorary fashion.[20]


  • International Emmy Directorate Award (2011)[21]
  • Canada India Foundation, Chanchlani Global Indian Award[22]


  1. "Subhash Chandra wins RS seat as 12 Cong votes were rejected due to 'wrong pen'". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  2. "Dr Subhash Chandra takes oath as Rajya Sabha member". 4 August 2016.
  3. "Subhash Chandra steps down as Zee Media chairman".
  4. "Zee group: Each brother to own 70–80% of business". Times of India. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  5. "Dish TV posts Q1 net profit of Rs 54.21 crore". Economic Times. India Times. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  6. Mohan, Archis (June 2016). "Subhash Chandra bets on BJP support for Rajya Sabha entry". Business Standard India.
  7. "हरियाणा: निर्दलीय उम्मीदवार डॉ. सुभाष चंद्रा राज्यसभा चुनाव जीते". Patrika (in Hindi). 9 September 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  8. "Today In History: Dr Subhash Chandra launched India's first private satellite channel 'Zee TV' in 1992". Zee News. October 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  9. "How Some Gather Silver In The Fog". Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  10. "At The Zee Group, Son Punit Has Taken The Baton From Subhash Chandra". Forbes India. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  11. Khandekar, Vanitha Kohli (25 March 2015). "40 Years Ago... And now: Subhash Chandra's chutzpah shaped his media business". Business Standard. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  12. "At The Zee Group, Son Punit Has Taken the Baton From Subhash Chandra". Forbes India.
  13. Adhikari, Anand (25 May 2014). "Passing the Baton". business Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  14. "Forbes – Subhash Chandra". 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  15. Ajwani, Deepak (14 March 2014). "At the Zee Group, Son Punit has taken the baton from Subhash Chandra". Forbes India Magazine. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  16. "Who owns your media: How Subhash Chandra's zeal for diversification wrecked his Zee empire".
  17. "Subhash Chandra Resigns as Chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises". News 18. 25 November 2019.
  18. Jagannath, J. (25 November 2019). "Zee Entertainment board accepts Subhash Chandra's resignation as chairman". Livemint.
  19. Mohan, Archis (2016). "Subhash Chandra bets on BJP support for Rajya Sabha entry". Business Standard.
  20. Laghate, Gaurav. "Subhash Chandra to take role of chairman emeritus at ZEE, steps down as non-executive director". The Economic Times. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  21. "Zee TV's Subhash Chandra to Receive Emmy Honor". The Hollywood Reporter. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  22. "Dr Subhash Chandra to receive Canada India Foundation (CIF) Chanchlani Global Indian Award". Zee News. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
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