Rakesh Jonghunwala, billionaire known as ‘Warren Buffett of India’ has passed away

File photo: Rakesh Jonghunwala. Photograph: Shalish Andrade/Reuters

One of his companies confirmed that billionaire investor Rakesh Jonghunwala, nicknamed “Indian Warren Buffett” because of his successful bets on stocks, died on Sunday at the age of 62.

Jhunjhunwala started as a public accountant at the age of 25 by setting up an asset management company rare projectswhich has invested in companies in the telecommunications, hospitality and financial services sectors, among others.

He had an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, which described Jonghunwala as an “investor with a Midas touch.” His latest venture, a low-cost airline called Akasa Air, began operations in India last week.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Rakesh Jonghunwala this morning,” AKSA Air said in a statement on Sunday, praising the “indomitable spirit of the businessman” and his passion for “everything that is Indian.”

The cause of death was not immediately revealed. Tell a family member of Jhunjhunwala Reuters that the investor “He passed away among his family and close associates”. His wife, Rekha Gonjunwala, and three children are survived.

People are seen outside the residence of the late Indian billionaire Rakesh Jonghunwala to pay his respects after his death today in Mumbai, India, August 14, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
People are seen outside the residence of the late Indian billionaire Rakesh Jonghunwala to pay his respects after his death today in Mumbai, India, August 14, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Local media reported that Jhunjhunwala was in poor health and appeared in a wheelchair at the Akasa Air launch event last Sunday.

Indian politicians and businessmen have expressed their condolences on the death of Jonghunwala. Many praised his efforts to educate people about stock trading, as well as his optimism about India and its economy.

“Rakesh Jonghunwala was invincible,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Full of life, intelligent and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the world of finance. He was also very passionate about progress in India.”

“An investor, a brave risk taker, a clever understanding of the stock market, clear in communications, a leader in his own right,” India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wrote on Twitter.

In a 2021 interview with India’s Economic Daily, Jhunjhunwala expressed confidence in India’s ability to outperform the world’s second largest economy, China. “You can call me stupid, you can call me anything, and I may not live to see it, but I can tell you one thing: India will overtake China in the next 25 years,” he said.

He had an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, which described Jonghunwala as
He had an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, which described Jonghunwala as an “investor with a Midas touch.” His latest venture, a low-cost airline called Akasa Air, began operations in India last week. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Jhunjhunwala believed that Indian stocks were undervalued. Uday Kotak, a billionaire Indian banker who said he went to school with Jhunjhunwala, wrote that he was “very keen to understand the financial markets”.

Jhunjhunwala was born in July 1960 and raised in Mumbai. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Mumbai and later graduated from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

His father was a commissioner with the Indian government’s Income Tax Department and advised Jhunjhunwala on investments, according to Financial Express. Jhunjhunwala invested just $100 in the stock market as a 25-year-old student, according to Forbes, and eventually turned it into a multi-million dollar portfolio.

He was also a fan of Hindi films and co-produced three Bollywood films between 2012 and 2016.

Indian market commentator Ajay Baga told the BBC that Jonghunwala had “embodied the history of India”: “A young middle-class man rises through the ranks to build such an enormous fortune”.

(c) The Washington Post

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