The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Top guns drawn to protect the stars
- Spurt in business gives Mumbai security company a Calcutta focus

Michael Jackson moon-walking in Mumbai, Sachin Tendulkar out for a quiet dinner with his family, Aishwarya Rai wooing the crowds at an awards function, Shah Rukh Khan mobbed by young fans in Calcutta, Parthapratim Roy Burman leaving home these days for office… All under the watchful eyes of a few top guns specialising in protecting people and property.

“We offer A-to-Z of security to individuals and corporate houses. We have over 3,000 customers, whom we offer personalised security service,” says Diwan Rahul Nanda, managing director and CEO of the Rs 85-crore Topsgrup. Headquartered in Mumbai, it employs over 20,000 professionals across 79 offices in India and abroad. Nanda, in town to finalise the launch of the group’s armoured truck services — with gadgets to make a certain Mr Bond blush — is bullish about the company’s presence here. The Calcutta focus is driven by the “remarkable rise” in business. “In just three years, we have touched Rs 8 crore and we expect to cross Rs 12 crore by the end of next fiscal,” feels Nanda, 31.

The Topsgrup list of Calcutta clients ranges from the Behala home of Sourav Ganguly to the Queen’s Park address of Harsh Neotia, the British deputy high commission to Taj Bengal, Hindustan Lever to HSBC, Coca-Cola to PepsiCo. The “only ISO 9002-certified security company” also provides personal cover to victims of the two most infamous kidnap cases in Calcutta — Exide chief S.B. Ganguly and Khadim’s vice-chairman Parthapratim Roy Burman.

“In Mumbai, we offer services to stars and business tycoons who face underworld threats,” says Nanda. But it’s not just the rich and the famous who turn to Topsgrup. “Politicians come to us before the elections, crucial meetings and coups,” smiles Nanda.

Topsgrup is now busy drawing up plans for a National Security Academy (NSA). “The security industry has changed from the days of the chowkidar. You need trained professionals and the latest gadgets to combat new-age crime. But there is a shortage of qualified people and so we are setting up the academy in Mumbai to bridge the demand-supply mismatch in the Rs 1,500-crore industry. We will set up a similar academy in Calcutta within a year,” says Nanda, who rues the fact that the law of the land allows his “proactive” men to only carry revolvers and pistols and promise protection from AK 47s and LMGs.

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