The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Absolutely NO huntin’ shootin’ or f ishin’... for the veggie laird

- By Mike Merritt

IT is one of Scotland’s most spectacula­r sporting estates, with a salmon river, a loch famed for its trout, a grouse moor and plentiful deer stalking.

Yet a tycoon who has just spent £3 million on the Gualin Estate has no plans to go hunting, shooting or fishing.

Pharmaceut­icals multi-millionair­e Dr Rajiv Modi, new owner of more than 6,000 acres near Durness, Sutherland, is a strict vegetarian.

So rather than take advantage of the sporting opportunit­ies on an estate described as a ‘Highland sporting heaven’, Dr Modi will use Gualin as a holiday home for himself and his 17-yearold son.

He managed to buy the estate from under the nose of Anders Povlsen, the Danish retail billionair­e who recently became Scotland’s largest private landowner and had expressed an interest in adding Gualin to his 280,000-acre portfolio.

Dr Modi is chairman and managing director of Cadila Pharmaceut­icals, one of the largest privately held pharmaceut­ical companies in India, headquarte­red at Ahmedabad in the State of Gujarat.

Last week a spokesman confirmed Dr Modi had bought Gualin in November but would not be taking part in traditiona­l country sports: ‘He is going to preserve the natural beauty – that is what attracted him. He has no other estate in Scotland. He has bought it with his son in mind, who will be more involved.

‘They plan to spend their holidays there and the lodge is being refurbishe­d to Dr Modi’s standard. The work should be finished at the end of the month.’

The spokesman added: ‘Both Dr Modi and his son are vegetarian­s and will not be fishing or shooting animals.’

Dr Modi, 60, and his son – also called Rajiv – have visited the estate several times, usually flying in and out by helicopter.

The remote estate with few residents and little crime will be a contrast for young Rajiv, who caused controvers­y in his native India over plans for armed bodyguards outside his classroom.

Gualin is noted worldwide for its angling, including a 7.5-mile stretch of double-bank fishing on the River Dionard.

The Victorian Gualin Lodge is situated at the western end of the estate, screened from the public road by a stand of mature conifer trees, enjoying stunning views over the hill lochs below the house and Strath Dionard with the majestic 2,989ft mountain Foinavon behind.

Gualin Lodge was originally built as an inn by the Duke of Sutherland in 1833, but now provides private accommodat­ion for up to nine guests.

There is also a keeper’s house, currently occupied by the keeper and his family.

Last year Dr Modi, who is also a director of the bio-tech company Novavax, was at the centre of a very public divorce. The Ahmedabad Mirror reported that after 26 years together, he had split from his wife Monika.

The couple’s son, Rajiv, studied at Ahmedabad Internatio­nal School.

The paper reported: ‘Around four years ago, there was a tussle between the Modis and the school management, as they insisted that two guards armed with guns be allowed to stand outside their child’s classroom.

‘The management had refused to permit this.’

‘He’s going to preserve the natural beauty’

 ??  ?? ESTATE OWNER: Dr Rajiv Modi

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