India’s 100 richest are nearly $60 billion poorer than they were last year, Forbes said Thursday in its annual wealth survey. Corruption scandals and allegations of wrongdoing, as well as the overall drop in India’s stock market, were often to blame. The combined wealth of country’s top earners fell 20 percent from last year, Forbes said, to $241 billion. The 2G telecom scandal and related investigations trimmed the net worth of — among others — Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Group, Unitech’s Ramesh Chandra, Swan Telecom promoters Vinod Goenka and Shahid Usman Balwa, and Kalanithi Maran, chairman of Sun Network. The people who appeared to avoid scandal were rewarded.
irtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal, for example, with a net worth of $8.8 billion, is one of the few telecom executives untouched by the 2G scandal. He is also one of the few to see his ranking rise this year on the Forbes list (up three spots to number six), and his net worth increase (by $200 million). Dilip Shanghvi, who controls Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, was this year’s top dollar gainer, with a $1.5 billion increase to put his net worth at $6.7 billion. Mr. Ambani of Reliance Group was the year’s biggest loser, with a $7.4 billion drop in net worth.
Of the top 10 on the list, only a few, including Mr. Mittal, Wipro’s Azim Premji, steel baron Lakshmi Mittal and Kumar Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla group, have been untouched, even peripherally, by widespread investigations into corruption and illegal activity under way in India’s courts in the past year. Number-one ranked Mukesh Ambani’s net worth fell $4.4 billion, to $22.6 billion, in part because of reports the government will investigate how his Reliance Industries operates in an off-shore oil and gas field known as K.G. Basin.
And that is only the tip of the iceberg! Let’s not forget Rajat K. Gupta for one. Is there a pattern here??