Kolkata: K. K. Birla, the head of KK Birla group and chairman of HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint, Hindustan Times and Hindi daily Hindustan, died after a brief illness at Birla Park – his family residence in Kolkata – at 7:30am on Saturday. He was 90.
Son of legendary businessman Ghanshyam Das Birla, K. K. Birla was a member of Rajya Sabha for 18 consecutive years till 2002. Born in Pilani in Rajasthan in 1918, Birla built a conglomerate that had business interests in sectors as diverse as sugar, fertilizers, textiles, heavy engineering, shipping and media.
Birla, who lost his wife Manorama Devi a month ago, is survived by three daughters – Jyotsna Poddar, Nandini Nopany and Shobhana Bhartia, vice-chairperson and editorial adviser of Hindustan Times.
On hearing the news, eminent industrialist Rama Prasad Goenka said, “Among businessmen, I respected him the most.”
Birla’s cremation started around 4pm in Kolkata. Kumar Mangalam Birla, the head of the Aditya Vikram Birla group, flew down from Mumbai to attend the cremation.
Among those who visited the bereaved family were Y. C. Deveshwar, chairman of ITC Ltd, Union information and broadcasting minister P. R. Das Munshi, and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.
Deveshwar said: “Dr Birla’s passing away will leave a deep void in the industrial landscape of the nation.”