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The Hindu
The Hindu
Lalatendu Mishra

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, veteran stock investor, dies in Mumbai aged 62

Veteran stock investor and newly-launched Akasa Air founder Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away on Sunday morning in Mumbai following a prolonged illness. He was 62.

The promoter of Akasa Air, Jhunjhunwala appeared days ago at its public launch. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Known as “India’s Warren Buffet” for his ability to pick up low-priced quality stocks much before they become high performers, Jhunjhunwala was a cult figure in the Indian capital market. Retail investors followed his investment pattern.

Also read: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala death | PM Modi leads the way in paying homage to ‘India’s Warren Buffet’

Also known as the “Big Bull”, he was always bullish about the Indian growth story. His latest investment was in low-cost airline Akasa Air which started flying operations last week.

Though the family is yet to issue a statement, Jhunjhunwala reportedly died of kidney-related problems and multiple organ failure.

People close to him said he not had not been keeping well for more than two years due to diabetes. He was mostly bound to a wheelchair or was on the bed. He was also in and out of Breach Candy hospital for the last several weeks.

He took all his investment decisions and invested through his asset management firm Rare Enterprises. The firm’s name is derived from the first two letters of his name and that of his wife Rekha, who is also a stock market investor.

Jhunjhunwala’s net worth is estimated at $5.8 billion (approximately ₹46,000 crore) by Forbes. He was India’s 36th wealthiest individual.

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwalla started as a street smart investor who knew how to play on fear and greed,” said market analyst Arun Kejriwal, founder of Kejriwal Research. “He was a speculator, an investor, and an entrepreneur,” he remarked.

“The one important lesson that he has taught the market is that no matter how big your position is, you need to call it quits when the market goes against you,” he added.

PM Modi expresses grief

Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to pay tributes to Jhunjhunwala and offered condolences to his family.

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was 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,” Mr. Modi wrote.

Can’t thank him enough for believing in us, says Akasa Air CEO

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Jhunjhunwala’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” Akasa Air, which has been funded by Jhunjhunwala, said in a statement.

“We at Akasa cannot thank Mr. Jhunjhunwala enough for being an early believer in us and putting his trust and faith in us to build a world-class airline. Mr. Jhunjhunwala had an invincible spirit, was deeply passionate about everything Indian and cared greatly for the well-being of our employees and customers. Akasa Air will honour Mr. Jhunjhunwala’s legacy, values and belief in us by striving to run a great airline,” the airline said in its statement.

Jhunjhunwala’s portfolio includes stocks of companies like Star Health, Nazara Technologies, Tata Motors, IHCL, Agro Tech Foods, Canara Bank, Escorts, Rallis India, and Titan.

He was on the boards of several companies, where he had a sizeable stake, including Aptech. He had also made investments in several start-ups.

IndiGo statement

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Rakesh Jhujhunwala at the time of their tragic loss,” said IndiGo through its spokesperson.

“Mr. Jhunjhunwala was a towering figure in India's financial world, and we also commend his recent contribution to Indian aviation with the launch of Akasa Air,” IndiGo said.

“He was an inspiring personality, and will be deeply missed,” it added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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