Gautam Adani, India’s richest man survived 2008 Mumbai terror attack, kidnapping

Gautam Adani chairman Adani Group

Photo : IANS

Earlier this week, Adani group chairman Gautam Adani, snapped the title of India’s richest man from its long time contender Mukesh Ambani, chairman of oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). Adani also joined the elite club of billionaires having a net worth of over $100 billion on the back of stellar performance of Adani group company shares on the bourses.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adani’s net worth, at $100 billion as of April 3 makes him the world’s tenth richest person while Ambani’s $99 billion gets him the 11th spot on the list.

Adani has added a whopping $23.5 billion year to date; shares of Adani group companies such as Adani Green, Adani Enterprises, Adani Gas and Adani Transmission have seen a massive rally over the one-year period.

The chairman of the Ahmedabad-based business tycoon has conquered several challenges in his personal life as well. The 59-year-old had survived an abduction as well as the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which claimed the lives of more than 160 people.

In the early 1980s, Adani tried his luck in Mumbai’s diamond sector after dropping out of college. He returned to Gujarat soon after to assist his brother in his plastics business. In 1988, he founded Adani Exports, a commodities trading company that grew so successful that it made the front pages of business newspapers in his home state. By the mid-1990s, his commercial successes had begun to attract attention, particularly unwanted attention.

Adani was kidnapped in 1997

With wealth and success came negative attention of criminal elements. The up and rising star of corporate India was kidnapped for ransom in 1998. The billionaire was kidnapped for a $1.5 million ransom. According to the charge sheet presented by police, Gautam Adani and Shantilal Patel were kidnapped at gunpoint after leaving Karnavati Club in a car and driving to Mohammadpura Road on January 1, 1998. A scooter was said to have forced his automobile to halt, and then a bunch of men arrived in a van and kidnapped both of them. According to the charging sheet, they were taken in a car to an unknown location before being released.

Adani has been reluctant about discussing the scary occurrence in public. Adani merely responded, “Two or three” really sad occurrences happened in my life, and it is one of them, when asked about the incident by London’s Financial Times. Fazl-Ur-Rehman, also known as ‘Fazlu Rehman,’ is said to have kidnapped Adani. Former criminals Fazlu Rehman and Bhogilal Darji nicknamed Mama were acquitted by an Ahmedabad court in 2018. At the time, Rehman was being held at Sabarmati Central Jail on various other criminal counts, while Darji was free on bail. The two accused’s lawyer, Kunal N Shah, claimed the judge freed his clients because the prosecution failed to prove the kidnapping and their roles in it.

Rehman was apprehended on the Indo-Nepal border in 2006, while Darji was apprehended and deported from Dubai in 2012. Aside from these two major defendants, the court acquitted six other defendants in the case in 2005 due to a lack of evidence.

When Adani survived 2008 Mumbai terror attack

On November 26, 2008, when terrorists attacked Mumbai’s iconic Taj hotel, Adani was having dinner at that hotel. He hid in the basement as terrorists killed over 160 people inside. He was able to escape safely when commandos took control of the situation and engaged with the terrorists.

As per media reports, that night, Adani was having dinner at the Weather Craft restaurant with Dubai Port CEO Mohammed Sharaf when he saw terrorists entering the hotel, firing indiscriminately and throwing grenades. Since he was sitting at a height, he could clearly see the terrorists firing in the direction of the swimming pool passage and lift before running towards the old wing.

Soon after that, the hotel staff helped the guests, including Adani, in moving to the basement. A couple of hours later when it became too suffocating in the basement, they were then moved to the Taj chamber hall on an upper floor. The billionaire was quoted in an old report saying, “We were over 100 and everybody was praying for his life. Some had hidden below the sofa while others had taken similar evasive position. Sitting on a Sofa, I was telling them to have faith in God. Simultaneously I was also talking to my distressed family in Ahmedabad and my driver and commando who was in my car outside the hotel”.

Adani spent the entire November 26 night (Wednesday) in the basement of the Taj Hotel and then in a hall before being rescued by the security personnel at 8:45 am on Thursday morning. He was taken out through the back door of the hotel and then moved in a police van. After landing at the Ahmedabad airport from his private aircraft on November 27,Adani had said, “I saw death at a distance of just 15 feet”.

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Divyansh Singh

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