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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

India’s Billionaire Race Sees One Tycoon Pulling Away

Gautam Adani has added $30 billion more to his wealth this year. His rival Mukesh Ambani, however, isn’t as deeply fueled by debt.

Gautam Adani, right, talking with Neeta Ambani, the wife of his rival Mukesh Ambani.

Gautam Adani, right, talking with Neeta Ambani, the wife of his rival Mukesh Ambani.

Photographer: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP

Going into the pandemic, the Indian tycoon to watch was Mukesh Ambani. Coming out of it, all eyes are on Gautam Adani.

Adani, the world’s sixth-richest person, has added almost $30 billion to his wealth this year, more than any other billionaire. His net worth of $106 billion is only about half of Tesla Inc. co-founder Elon Musk’s, but $10 billion more than Ambani’s. While both would like markets to reward them for scripting India’s future in renewable energy, what’s ticking for them right now is all the polluting stuff in short supply: coal, palm oil, gasoline and building materials. Investors are loving Adani more — simply because he’s the bolder of the two.