With an estimated fortune of $137 billion (£117 billion), Indian businessman Gautam Adani is now the third-richest person in the world and the first Asian to rank in the top three.
Adani, 60, came in third place on Tuesday on the regularly updated Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Adani founded the mining-to-energy company Adani Group after dropping out of college.
According to the index, his fortune has increased by $61 billion so far this year as a result of the rising market value of many of his enterprises. Since many of his companies are engaged in the production of electricity, coal mining, and natural gas, they probably benefited from the rise in energy prices on a global scale.
Aside from Adani, all of the top ten billionaires have seen declines in their fortune this year after experiencing significant increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, are richer than Adani, each with an estimated worth of $251 billion and $153 billion, respectively.
The group headed by Adani operates the busiest private airport and seaport in India as well as a sizable coal mine in Queensland, Australia. The corporation has come under harsh criticism for its water use of billions of liters annually and its environmental impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Swedish teen environmentalist Greta Thunberg has participated in the opposition to the Carmichael coalmine campaign. Adani Group committed to the investment of seventy billion dollars in renewable energy last year and emerged as the top producer of these fuels globally.
Adani’s tight friendship with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is alleged by some detractors to have brought him financial gain.
Modi loosened regulations when six Indian airports were set to be privatized in 2018, allowing firms without prior airport management experience to submit bids. The company owned by Adani acquired all six, making it the largest airport operator in the nation.
Thomas Isaac, the state finance minister for Kerala, called it an “act of brazen cronyism.”
Adani provided Modi with the use of his private plane for a victory tour following his victory in the 2014 election. At the time of Modi’s election in 2014, Adani’s wealth was projected to be $8 billion; as of today, it is $137 billion—an increase of more than 1,600 percent.
Adani Allegedly Purchases His Interest Through Third Party
According to NDTV, Radhika Roy, a former journalist, and her husband, Prannoy Roy, a well-known economist, were the company’s co-founders and co-chairs when Adani allegedly purchased his interest through a third party without their knowledge.
The sale, which includes an offer to purchase an additional twenty-six percent interest, was made “without discussion, consent, or notice,” the company claimed.
The company reported, “NDTV has never compromised on the heart of its operations: its journalism. We continue to proudly stand by that journalism.”
Adani’s website describes him as “a first-generation entrepreneur [who] is driven by the core philosophy of infusing ‘growth with goodness’ through his vision of nation-building.”
It also adds that “for Mr. Adani, nation-building means transforming India’s coastline by building a string of ports and logistics hubs. For him, nation-building also means strengthening the country’s energy security and mitigating the urban-rural divide by delivering electricity to several hundreds of millions living in the hinterlands of India.”
Adani was able to surpass some of the wealthiest US billionaires in part because of their recent increase in philanthropy. While Warren Buffett has already contributed more than thirty-five billion dollars to charity, in July, Gates announced that he would be donating twenty billion dollars to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Together with Melinda French Gates, Bill Gates’ ex-wife, they launched the Giving Pledge campaign in 2010, promising to donate the majority of their wealth before they pass away. Their position on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has decreased due to the enormous sums of money spent on philanthropy. Buffett is now the sixth wealthiest person, and Gates is the fifth wealthiest worldwide.