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Indian billionaires’ wealth dwindles, Mukesh Ambani remains richest

Singapore: Inflation, corruption scandals and falling stocks and currency prices are diminishing the wealth of India’s richest.

Mukesh AmbaniAccording to the 2011 Forbes India Rich List, the combined wealth of India’s 100 per cent richest people is down 20 per cent from a year ago to US$ 241 billion.

This year’s list also has 57 billionaires in all, a dozen less than last year.
Mukesh Ambani holds the top spot for the fourth year in a row, with a net worth of US$22.6 billion this year despite seeing a drop of US$ 4.4 billion.

Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal remains at number two with a net worth of US$ 19.2 billion, down 26 per cent from last year.

Third richest is Azim Premji, head of IT outsourcer Wipro, whose net worth of US$ 13 billion is lower by 26 per cent from US$ 17.6 billion last year.

The biggest dollar loser was Mukesh’s younger brother, Anil Ambani, down US$ 7.4 billion; he slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since his 2004 debut to No.13 this year.

His net worth is estimated at US $5.9 billion, down from $13.3 billion last year.
Naazneen Karmali, India Editor of Forbes Asia and Mumbai bureau manager of Forbes magazine, said: “This has been a turbulent year for India’s richest.

Despite the economy growing at close to 8 percent, a spate of corruption scandals and rising inflation have taken their toll.

“There are 14 new faces on the list this year. The richest debutante is Ajay Kalsi, coming in at No.38 with a net worth of US$1. 39 billion.

He is the founder and CEO of London-listed oil and gas outfit, Indus Gas, in which he has more than two-thirds stake.

Father-son duo Kapil and Rahul Bhatia of travel group, InterGlobe Enterprises, make their debut at No.51, with a net worth of $1.9 billion after their budget carrier, IndiGo, became India’s third largest and most profitable airline.

Making it to the list for the first time is also V.G Siddhartha, who is ranked 84th on the list, with a net worth of $595 million. He founded and runs Café Coffee Day, India’s answer to Starbucks.

Among the 15 who dropped out of the top 100 altogether are Vinod Goenka and Shahid Balwa, former billionaires now in jail for their alleged involvement in a telecom corruption scandal; both deny wrongdoing.

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