NEW DELHI – Veteran stock market investor and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, nicknamed Warren Buffett of India, died Sunday in the city of Mumbai, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. He was 62 years old. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tribute for the business mogul, who according to Forbes had an estimated net worth of $ 5.8 billion.
“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was invincible. Full of life, funny and insightful, he leaves an indelible contribution to the financial world, “Modi tweeted, also sending his condolences to Jhunjhunwala’s family. The cause of his death has not yet been disclosed, although he is said to have suffered from various health conditions, local media reported.
Jhunjhunwala, a chartered accountant from the northern state of Rajasthan, began investing in the stock market while still a student, starting with a capital of just 5,000 rupees ($ 63). He then founded and managed RARE Enterprises, an asset management company. As his net worth steadily increased, he became one of the richest men in India with investments in some of the largest companies in the country.
For his latest venture, he helped launch low-cost airline Akasa Air, which made its maiden flight last week. Jhunjhunwala was spotted in a wheelchair at first, local media reported. The airline said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of his death. “We at Akasa cannot thank Mr. Jhunjhunwala enough for believing in us from the start and placing his trust in us to build a world-class airline,” a statement read.
Dubbed the “Big Bull” of the country’s Bombay Stock Exchange, Jhunjhunwala was known for taking risks in the market and its investments.
“Investor, bold risk, masterful understanding of the stock market,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, calling him a “leader in his own rights” who firmly believes in India’s strength and growth.
In an interview last week with news channel CNBC-TV18, despite unfavorable economic conditions around the world, Jhunjhunwala said: “The Indian market will grow, but at a slower pace.”