Like Sahara, Roy, 64, has long operated outside the mainstream of corporate India.
Based in Lucknow, the capital of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh, Roy calls himself managing worker and chairman of Sahara and "chief guardian" of the world's biggest family, with nearly a million staff and agents.
The conglomerate's full name is Sahara India Pariwar, which means family.
Sahara says the founders have taken an oath that neither they nor their family members can share the profit or assets of the company, although Roy lives in a sprawling gated complex of low white buildings and lawns called Sahara Shaher.
His wife, Swapna, and two sons work for the company.
Sahara's website says it had assets with a market value of Rs 1.17 trillion as of April 2011, the most recently available figure on its website.
Its social initiatives include a mass wedding every year for 101 under-privileged couples, who each get gifts worth Rs 100000.