New Delhi, Nov 15 (UNI) London-based Steel czar Lakshmi Mittal reamained the unbeaten richest Indian again for the fourth year in running with a net wealth of 51 billion US dollars.
However, he may face stiff competition from Mukesh Ambani who is nearing his slot with his earnings pitchforking to 49 billion US dollars, according to the Forbes 40 richest India's list for 2007.
Anil Ambani is also not too far from the number one position and could pose a threat to both Mittal and brother Mukesh as he made a wealth of 45 billion US dollars and sucessfully clinched the third spot in the US-based list.
Fifty-seven-year-old Mittal merged his Mittal Steel with Arcelor last year. The new company, ArcelorMittal, headed by the steel tycoon, is the world's largest steelmaker with 90 billion dollars in sales.
Mumbai-based Mukesh, who recently hit headlines for gifting a luxury Airbus jet worth Rs 290 crore to his wife, Nita Ambani, is the proud owner of the country's petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries having a market share of 100 billion dollars.
The fourth place in the list went to Kushal Pal Singh, who with his empire, worth 35 billion US dollars, after the listing of his flagship DLF became the world's richest real estate developer.
Together, the foursome, with an astonishing net wealth of 180 billion dollars is worth more than the 40 richest Chinese combined.
''The four richest Indians are worth an astonishing USD 180 billion,'' Forbes said, attributing the trend of increase in earnings to a booming stock market.
Twenty-nine people who returned to the list are richer than last year. The only exception is Rahul Bajaj, who is battling his younger sibling over dividing their empire, and whose fortune was flat at 2.3 billion dollars.
The list also found ten new entrants, including Guatam Adani, who built Mundra Port on the country's west coast; Anand Jain, Mukesh Ambani's school buddy and Gautum Thapar, whose Ballarpur Industries is India's largest paper maker.
The real estate sector produced a couple more billionaires as well with Niranjan Hiranandani, a surgeon's son, who built a thriving township in suburban Mumbai, along with his brother; and Rakesh Wadhawan, whose July listing of his company Housing Development and Infrastructure made him a billionaire.
The criteria of having a net worth of 1.6 billion US dollars that was up from 790 million dollars last year made many miss the ship.
Naresh Goyal, the founder of Jet Airways could not get entry in the prestigious list despite his fortune rising 55 per cent to 1.55 billion dollars. 13 other billionaires missed the cut that included Nandan Nilekani and Senapathy Gopalakrishnan, co-founders of software services giant Infosys Technologies.
While some could not make it to the list in spite of being wealthy, for some the list remained elusive as they did not possess Indian citizenship.
Construction magnate Pallonji Mistry, Tata Sons' largest shareholder, who became an Irish citizen, missed the list for the above reason.
The other Indians in the Forbes list are WIPRO's Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal, Shashi and Ravi Ruia, Ramesh Chandra, Kumar Birla, Tulsi Tanti, Savitri Jindal, Anil Agarwal, Gautam Adani, Grandhi Rao, Adi Godrej, Uday Kotak, Indu Jain, Shiv Nadar, Anand Jain and Dilip Shanghvi.
Jaiprakash Gaur, Cyrus Poonawalla, Kalanithi Maran, Subhash Chandra, Baba Kalyani, Rakesh Wadhawan, Rahul Bajaj, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh Venugopal Dhoot, Rajan Raheja, Niranjan Hiranandani, Vivek Burman, L Madhusudhan Rao, Gautam Thapar, Anurag Dikshit, Vikas Oberoi, N R Narayana Murthy, Anu Aga Gracias Saldanha and Vijay Mallya are the rest in the list.