Rakesh Jhunjhunwala: The RARE big bull; unabashed wealth creator sans big scam shadow

MUMBAI: Dalal Street had been fraught with threat. People who made big fortunes usually made headlines as scamsters, resulting in fairness markets being checked out with suspicion in post-liberalised India.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, a companion at RARE Enterprises, who rose to amass a $5.8 billion fortune and earn the tag of India’s greatest particular person investor, was broadly an exception to this, who leaves behind a comparatively cleaner slate.
Unlike names like Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, whose rise in fortunes was tainted with scam hyperlinks, the most recent ‘Big Bull’ within the more-regulated market had lesser baggage on this entrance.
Frequently likened to legendary investor Warren Buffett, Jhunjhunwala was unabashed about wealth creation and strutted his connections flamboyantly, an indication of the shift to a market-based financial system in early Nineteen Nineties taking root.
While he didn’t make big headlines for scams, Jhunjhunwala did characteristic in some instances of insider buying and selling and was additionally purported to front-run on inventory trades forward of big information occasions. In 2021, he and others settled an insider buying and selling case associated to Aptech by agreeing to pay Rs 37 crore beneath the consent route, the place a person can shut a pending matter with out admitting or denying the fees.
A Rs 70-crore acquire on an funding in Zee Enterprises in a short while, by investing within the inventory days forward of its board deciding on a merger with rival Sony Pictures Networks in 2021, had additionally led to chatter round his conduct.
However, it was Jhunjhunwala’s long-term, research-based bets on shares like Titan and Indian Hotels Company which made him one of many greatest names within the Indian markets.
Every transfer in his portfolio was tracked carefully by the rising variety of traders in India, who needed an early entry into scrips which might ultimately get away.
Some of the bets, particularly within the infrastructure house, didn’t repay for Jhunjhunwala. But the proverbial ‘humbling impact’ was lacking, as he would usually reach another inventory, showcasing his Midas contact.
People within the know say behind the worth creation was an operation of deep analysis carried out by him and analysts on the Nariman Point workplace of RARE Enterprises (which is known as after the primary two letters within the identify of Rakesh and his spouse Rekha).
And when corporations underperformed, Jhunjhunwala was unsparing, like the enduring character of Gordon Gekko within the film ‘Wall Street’. Managements of fairly just a few portfolio corporations confronted questions from an irate Jhunjhunwala himself on analyst calls. The administration of Titan, which has been a two-decade previous funding for Jhunjhunwala, was on the receiving finish of 1 such robust public questioning in 2020.
Outspokenness and wit got here to outline Jhunjhunwala. Unlike most of his contemporaries who shied away from having a public profile, Jhunjhunwala participated in trade seminars and spoke passionately on a wide range of topics past the markets as nicely.
Many of his views have been carefully aligned with that of the ruling NDA as nicely, one thing which made his 2021 assembly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi much less stunning.
His latest enterprise within the heavily-regulated airways sector, Akasa Air, additionally had a easy take off.
But issues didn’t all the time come simple and having a great deal of cash didn’t assist each time. His house purchase in a tony south Mumbai locality is commonly cited as a narrative of perseverance.
Along along with his spouse Rekha, Jhunjhunwala purchased the 14 flats that made Ridgeway Apartments in offers unfold over 5 years, demolished the construction after gaining full management and is now constructing a 14-storey pad on the identical plot.
The dealer in Jhunjhunwala drew life classes from all his offers and mirrored — publicly, as was his wont — on the condominium purchase as nicely. Jhunjhunwala stated he needed to promote his holdings in main ranking company Crisil to fund what was an emotional resolution of shopping for flats in Ridgeway, and regretted having missed the rally within the inventory later.
He usually requested traders to take a position much less and analysis extra. He likened day-trading to having a mistress, which he stated was effective however one shouldn’t have a lot of them, and requested everybody to focus on having long-term methods as nicely.
Sartorially talking, he was not the dapper dealer in finely lower fits and was largely under-dressed. Most of his public appearances have been easy trouser-shirt affairs, with some gutkha or paan (betel nut) as nicely in his mouth. He, nonetheless, cherished meals and alcohol.
Not given to shying away from sharing his reflections, Jhunjhunwala had currently spoken about not paying sufficient consideration to his well being throughout his pursuit of wealth lasting a number of a long time. He was down with a number of illnesses and struggled to face and stroll in the direction of the top.
The wheelchair-bound Jhunjhunwala’s dance efficiency on the favored Bollywood quantity ‘Kajra Re’ at a non-public do outlined his character for some. He was down, however not out, they stated.
At the inauguration of Akasa Air’s flight operations at Mumbai airport on August 7, Jhunjunwala was sitting in a wheelchair and regarded frail, main many to precise considerations about his well being.
Jhunjunwala, who usually spoke about no person being able to predicting the climate, demise, market or ladies, breathed his final on Sunday morning.

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