A YEAR after he hosted the first season of the TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2000-01, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan became shareholder of a digital media company incorporated in Bermuda in 2002. Till the introduction of the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in 2004, all investments abroad made by resident Indians required prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India. It’s not clear if the shareholding was disclosed to RBI.
Appleby records Bachchan and Silicon Valley venture investor Navin Chaddha as shareholders of Jalva Media Ltd on June 19, 2002. The company was set up in Bermuda on July 20, 2000 and dissolved in 2005.
One of the early digital ‘rich media’ start-up, Jalva Media Inc was launched by four young Indian entrepreneurs in California in January 2000. The Indian arm — Jalva.com India Pvt Ltd (later Jalva Media India Pvt Ltd) — came up in February, followed by a third company in Bermuda in July.
In July 2000, Jalva-India announced receiving $3.2 million in angel investment from leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs including Navin Chaddha, then chairman and CEO of Biztro, a California-based business operations platform. Jalva also set a short-term target to raise another $15 million in venture finance. Jalva Media had already signed up for the live webcast of International Indian Film Academy Awards from the Millennium Dome in London. The company launched dekhofilm.com in October 2000 and tied up with IBM in June 2001 to provide “a complete content management solution for the media and entertainment industry.” Jalva also set up its Digital Media Innovation Laboratory in Mumbai.
A year after the IBM tie-up, Bachchan and Chaddha, one of the early investors, show up on Appleby records as shareholders in Jalva-Bermuda. Jalva Media soon ran out of steam. Urshit Parikh had already left to join Kuokoa Networks in November 2001. Gautam Anand left in September 2003 and Shailendra J Singh in July 2004.
On October 28, 2005, Appleby records show, a notice was published in The Bermuda Sun, stating that Jalva-Bermuda, listed as “bad debtor”, “shall stand dissolved”. Appleby had already terminated services to the company on January 14, 2004.
Jalva-India survived on paper till it opted for the ‘Easy Exit Scheme 2011’ of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, for being “inoperative for the past six years due to the reason of business not being successful.” As a director, Tarun Arora completed the formalities.
In July 2005, California-based information technology and business process outsourcing company Caneum Inc executed an asset purchase agreement and acquired certain customer contracts from Jalva Media.
EXPLAINED: Why the Paradise Papers matter
The website — jalvamedia.com — has a 2016 copyright stamp and a bare webpage with the words “Passionately Inspired” floating in the middle. All Jalva-Bermuda shareholders were unavailable for comment.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines