India's 'Warren Buffett' Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62

India's 'Warren Buffett' Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62
File Photo

Mumbai, Aug 14: Ace stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often referred to as India's Warren Buffett, died here Sunday morning.

He was 62.

Jhunjhunwala, India's best known stock investor, died early this morning due to a cardiac arrest, a source in his newly set up airline said.

A self-made trader, investor and businessman, he was also known as 'Big Bull' of Dalal Street. With an estimated net worth of around USD 5.8 billion, Jhunjhunwala was the 36th richest billionaire in India, according to Forbes' 2021 listing.

Son of an income tax officer, he is survived by his wife and three children.

A chartered accountant by education, he had not been keeping well for the last few months because of a kidney ailment. He was seen on a wheelchair at recent public events. He looked and sounded frail at the launch of his budget airline Akasa Air last week.

Jhunjhunwala was brought dead to the Breach Candy hospital early on Sunday morning. Suffering from kidney disease and ischemic heart disease, the hospital certified that cardiac arrest was the cause of his death.

He was on dialysis and was responding well. He was diabetic and had recently undergone an angioplasty, said Dr Pratit Samdani of Breach Candy Hospital.

His last rites will be performed later in the evening the Banganga crematorium here. The family was waiting for his brother to arrive from Dubai. Starting off his journey in stock markets while still in college with a capital of just Rs 5,000, he recently teamed up with ex-Jet Airways CEO Dube and former IndiGo head Aditya Ghosh to launch Akasa Air -- India's newest budget carrier. The airline began commercial operations this month with a maiden flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

Jhunjhunwala had in previous interviews stated that he became fascinated with stocks as a child after watching his father balance his market investments. He made his first investment in the stock market in 1985, when he was 25 years old. That investment was from money borrowed from a relative.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Index was at 150 when he began investing; it now trades over 60,000.

He had the reputation of being a risk-taker in his investments, many of which paid off spectacularly. He was described as an investor who has "acquired legendary Midas touch by picking winning stocks".

He earned his first big profit in 1986 when he bought 5,000 shares of Tata Tea at Rs 43 and the stock rose to Rs 143 within three months. In three years he earned Rs 20-25 lakh. His privately-owned stock trading firm Rare Enterprises derived its name from the first two initials of his name and that of his wife Rekha, who is also a stock market investor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met Jhunjhunwala and his wife last year, described him as indomitable, full of life, witty and insightful.

"He leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world. He was also very passionate about India's progress. His passing away is saddening. My condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," Modi tweeted.

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