For the fifth year in a row, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani retained the top spot as India’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $21 billion, despite his fortune falling for the third year in a row, according to global business magazine Forbes’ annual ranking of 100 wealthiest Indians released on Thursday.
Ambani’s net worth stood at $22.6 billion last year.
Abhay Vakil and Ashwin Choksi, who are from the family that controls Asian Paints have entered the billionaire ranks for the first time separately.
Habil Khorakiwala of pharma giant Wockhardt has re-entered the billionaire ranks while the Hinduja brothers, who are Britons, enter the list on the back of their Indian assets.
Ranjan Pai of the Manipal education group is just short of the billion league with an estimated wealth of $975 million.
While Lakshmi Mittal held on to the number 2 spot with $16 billion, down $3.2 billion, liquor baron Vijay Mallya lost his billionaire tag as his aviation business dragged down his networth to below the $1-billion mark. Mallya has been ranked 73rd with a fortune of $800 million, a sharp plunge from 49th place last year when he was worth $1.1 billion.
Azim Premji of Wipro bagged the number 3 position with a net worth of $12.2 billion, lower by $800 million from a year ago.
The biggest gainer was Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma, who broke into the top 5 with a $2.5 billion jump in networth at $9.2 billion.
There are now 61 billionaires in all, 4 more than last year.
Among them are the Hinduja brothers who debut with an estimated $8 billion fortune. While 3 of the siblings are not Indian citizens, their expanding business ties to India made them candidates this year.
They are also the richest of the 11 newcomers to the list of 100 richest Indians. The youngest newcomer is 40-year-old Pai (ranked 63) who is credited with turning his Manipal Group into a global brand in education.
The billionaires’ collective net worth is up 3.7% at $250 billion compared to $241 billion a year ago. But, according to Forbes, the gains were uneven as seven lost more than a billion and six gained at least that much.