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Andy Mukherjee

The World’s Second-Biggest Fortune Deserves a Keener Spotlight

Gautam Adani’s burgeoning wealth, amassed chiefly from shares traded in India, could be a public-relations dream for the country — with some transparency around his offshore fund investors’ ultimate beneficiaries.

Gautam Adani.

Gautam Adani.

Photographer: Adeel Halim

Gautam Adani’s rise to the No. 2 spot in global wealth rankings, crafted chiefly from shares traded in the local market, deserves to be in the spotlight — as much as a poster child of Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” self-reliance as an opportunity for some much-needed transparency about the tycoon’s investors.

In the Indian prime minister’s eight years in power, the first-generation entrepreneur from his home state of Gujarat came out of relative obscurity and eclipsed Jeff Bezos of Inc. No other Asian businessman has ever risen this high — not when Japan Inc. was buying up everything in the 1980s, nor when China’s meteoric rise held the world spellbound 20 years later.