King of steel Lakshmi N Mittal reigns as the richest Indian for the fourth year in a row with a wealth of $51 billion, although his crown is under threat from Mukesh Ambani whose net worth soared to $49 billion, according to Forbes' India's 40 Richest list for 2007.
But Mukesh's position too is under threat from his younger brother Anil, who is closing on his heels with a wealth of $45 billion at the third spot, US-based Forbes magazine said.
Real estate tycoon Kushal Pal Singh of DLF elbowed Wipro's Azim Premji from the fourth spot in the list, which for the first time features all billionaires.
"The four richest Indians are worth an astonishing $180 billion," Forbes said, attributing the surge in wealth to a booming stock market.
The net worth of Mukesh Ambani has jumped from USD 30.5 billion to $49 billion, making him the year's biggest gainer. Anil's net worth increased to USD 45 billion from USD 30.2 billion.
The fourth richest Indian Kushal Pal Singh has a net worth of USD 35 billion and after the listing of his flagship DLF, he is now the world's richest real estate developer, Forbes said.
"... Thanks to the roaring Mumbai stock market, with the benchmark index gaining as much as 53 per cent in the past year and a strong rupee that appreciated 12 per cent, for the first time, all India rich-listers are billionaires," the magazine said in a report.
The minimum wealth required to make it to the rich-list was USD 1.6 billion against USD 790 million last year.
"In aggregate, their wealth surged to USD 351 billion, a bit more than double of last year's USD 170 billion, making India's 40 by far the wealthiest such group in all of Asia," the magazine added.
Forbes said 29 of the people who returned to the list were richer than last year, with the exception of Rahul Bajaj whose fortune was flat at USD 2.3 billion.
Newcomers to the list include "Gautam Adani, who built Mundra Port, Anand Jain, Mukesh Ambani's school buddy and Gautum Thapar, whose Ballarpur Industries is India's largest paper maker."
Notable drop offs include Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and among those who failed to make the cut are Infosys' Nandan Nilekani and Senapathy Gopalakrishnan, and investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.