Friends recall ‘royal’ Agashe,despite taint

Terming his death in the hospital as unfortunate,friends of Dnyaneshwar Agashe remember him as a “royal” man,always ready to help friends.

Written by SiddharthKelkar | Pune | Published: January 4, 2009 2:35 am

Terming his death in the hospital as unfortunate,friends of Dnyaneshwar Agashe remember him as a “royal” man,always ready to help friends. The famous businessman,regarded highly for his dashing batting,wicketkeeping and later for his administrative skills in the cricketing field,was always a gracious person for people in the business field.

In the later years,his reputation was marred because of the Suvarna Sahakari Bank scam. But that did not change the regard his friends had for him. Son of illustrious entrepreneur Chandrashekhar Agashe,the founder of Brihan Maharashtra Sugar Syndicate (BMSS),he completed his schooling from Raman Baug High School,BA from S P College and BCom from Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC).

Fond of cricket,Agashe started playing the sport from his school days. He represented India at school-level competitions and had toured Sri Lanka. He was a good wicketkeeper and a middle order batsman. He went on to play Ranji Trophy representing Maharashtra from 1967 to 1973. His pairing with Madhu Gupte was considered the best.

“He used to play lofted shots when orthodox cricket was predominant,” said Arvind Mehendale,a close friend of Agashe,who was his Ranji teammate. “He and Madhu were a fantastic pair and always regarded as probables for the Indian team,” he said. Agashe entered Maharashtra Cricket Association in 1969 and became its executive chairman in 1989. He was also vice-chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from 1995 to 1999.

Agashe was instrumental in starting some educational institutes. He donated to Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce and funds to start Chandrashekhar Agashe College of Physical Education. He also donated generously to Chandrashekhar Agashe High School and Junior College,Shripur and Panditrao Agashe High School,Pune.

He was known for his entrepreneurship. The posts he held included the chairman and managing director of BMSS,chairman of Kolhapur Steel and director of some other companies. He diversified his business to liquor,pharmaceuticals,power generation,publication,software and real estate and started a unit in Canada for Taj rum.

Agashe was considered a philanthropist. “He helped many Marathi families by way of employment or helping them in need. He never let down friends,” said a close associate of Agashe. Mehendale corroborated it,“In 1988,my wife suffering from cancer became serious and there was no option but to operate on her in the US. When we went to the US,to our surprise,Agashe had already talked to the doctors about the case. Not only that,he immediately sent money for the operation. Though the amount was big,he never asked for it to be returned.”

Agashe founded the Shree Suvarna Sahkari Bank in 1969. Many middle class families money with a lot of trust. In 2006,the bank ran into rough weather. Police arrested him on November 22,2008. He was in judicial custody when he died. His health deteriorated in the last 8 to10 days. He was admitted to Sassoon Hospital,where he passed away.

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