OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal and Future Group’s Kishore Biyani did not make the cut this year to be among India’s richest billionaires

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OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal and Future Group’s Kishore Biyani did not make the cut this year to be among India’s richest billionaires
  • Indian billionaires Ritesh Agarwal and Kishore Biyani dropped off Hurun’s Rich List for 2021.
  • Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna saw the biggest drop in net worth in percentage terms.
  • Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal maintained their net worth, but that still led to them slipping over 400 ranks on the Rich List.
Not everyone escaped the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. While many businesses managed to not just survive, but thrive, others ran a little short on luck. The people behind these enterprises saw their estimated net worth take a hit.

Among India’s 177 billionaires, the worst blow was dealt to fast moving consumer goods firm (FMCG) Patanjali Ayurved’s chairman, Acharya Balakrishna, who saw his estimated net worth dip to $3.6 billion.

Here is how the rankings shifted this year:
  • Number of billionaires who saw their wealth increase: 150
  • Number of billionaires who saw their wealth decrease: 16
  • Number of billionaires who saw no change in estimated net worth: 12
  • New faces: 50
  • Drop-offs: 10
There are another 32 billionaires of Indian origin, living outside of India like LN Mittal of ArcelorMittal in the UK or Zscaler’s Jay Chaudhry in the US.

Here is a list of Indian billionaires who took the biggest hits during COVID-19 and those to fell off the Hurun Rich List 2021 altogether:

Acharya Balkrishna — $3.6 billion

Acharya Balkrishna — $3.6 billion
BCCL

Still on the list but no longer as wealthy, Patanjali’s chairman Acharya Balkrishina, was the biggest loser on the Hurun Rich List 2021. He saw a 32% dip in his estimated net worth which led to a fall of 489 positions within the rankings.

In the last one year, Patanjali has been caught in a war of words over its Coronil tablet. The company claims that Coronil is an evidence-based medicine to fight COVID-19. However, it has faced a lot of criticism from major stakeholders like the Indian Medical Association (IMA) over the lack of data to prove the medicine’s efficacy.

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P Pitchi Reddy — $1.4 billion

P Pitchi Reddy — $1.4 billion
Megha Engineering Enterprises

A farmer's son, P.P. Reddy founded Megha Engineering Enterprises to build small pipes for municipalities in 1989. The company was soon expanded to building bigger infrastructure projects such as dams, natural gas distribution networks, power plants and roads.

Right now, Megha Engineering Enterprises is setting up India’s largest lift irrigation project, worth $14 billion, in the Indian state of Telangana, which is prone to droughts.

Despite the megaproject, Reddy saw a 26% dip in his estimated wealth.

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Sanjay Agarwal and family — $1.2 billion

Sanjay Agarwal and family — $1.2 billion
Wikimedia Commons

The founder of AU Small Finance Bank, Sanjay Agarwal, and his family saw their net worth drop by 20% in the last year, leading them to drop off the Hurun Rich List 2021 altogether.

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Cyrus Pallonji Mistry and family — $10.5 billion

Cyrus Pallonji Mistry and family — $10.5 billion
BCCL

Cyrus Pallonji Mistry of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group has not had an easy year. Not only was COVID-19 making the rounds, but he was engaged in a court feud against the Tata Group. The dispute is over where the Tata Group has the power to remove Mistry from the post of executive chairman.

Amidst all the drama, Mistry’s estimated net worth took a 5% hit.

In December 2020, the Supreme Court reserved its judgement on the case and the verdict is still awaited.

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Flipkart founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal — $1 billion

Flipkart founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal — $1 billion
Sachin Bansal (R) and Binny Bansal (L)BCCL

Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal didn’t lose their wealth per say. They were worth $1 billion in 2020 and they’re still worth $1 billions 2021. However, this still led to a drop in their ranking by over 400 levels.

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Dropped off: Ritesh Aggarwal

Dropped off: Ritesh Aggarwal
BCCL

The founder of OYO Rooms — India’s first unicorn startup — lost his billionaire status this year due to the impact of COVID-19. The tourism and hospitality industry has been the hardest hit with airlines and railways coming to a halt during lockdowns and limitations on public gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The company recently raised $7.4 billion from Hindustan Media Ventures in a series F round of funding. “We are seeing growth in weekend travel, and we are seeing essential travel increase, so we are doubling down there,” Agarwal told Business Insider India in an earlier interview.

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Dropped off: Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO of the Future Group

Dropped off: Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO of the Future Group
BCCL

Kishore Biyani of Future Retail was the fastest wealth creator in 2018. Come 2021, he has dropped off the Hurun Rich List after over-leveraging — having too much debt that it impedes a company’s ability to make payments and cover operating expenses — that blew out of control due to COVID-19.

Biyani has also been caught in a court battle against Amazon. The US-based giant believes that Biyani’s Future Retail-Reliance deal with Mukesh Ambani is in violation of its partnership contract. This is because it would be considered an asset sale to a rival. If the transaction fails, there will be no reprieve for the company’s debt.

Last month, Biyani was also banned by Securities and Exchange Board of india (SEBI) from accessing the securities market.

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Dropped off: Rajesh Mehta

Dropped off: Rajesh Mehta
BCCL

The executive chairman of jewellery company Rajesh Exports has dropped off Hurun’s Rich List as well. The company has its footprint in every part of the jewelry making process, from refining to retailing.

The only issue is that when your main selling position is an exporter, it doesn’t help that borders are being closed off due to the coronavirus pandemic and business comes to a halt.

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