India Today - - BUSINESS - By M.G. Arun

On any given Satur­day, one could spot Jig­nesh Shah driv­ing down with fam­ily from his home in Mum­bai’s Juhu to PVR Cine­mas in a Mercedes Benz S-Class to watch the lat­est Hindi movie on of­fer. A Bol­ly­wood buff, Jig­nesh adored Amitabh Bachchan and Ra­jesh Khanna as well as Shah Rukh Khan. Though he would pep­per his con­ver­sa­tion with pop­u­lar di­a­logues from their movies, his own life could put a rags-to-riches Bol­ly­wood for­mula to shame. He was a soft­ware engi­neer, be­came a man­ager at the Bom­bay Stock Ex­change ( BSE), took com­mod­ity trad­ing in In­dia online, and went on to set up sev­eral ex­changes all over the world. His dream was to be­come a bil­lion­aire by 40. In 2008, when he was just a year older, at 41, he de­buted on the Forbes list of bil­lion­aires with a net worth of $1.1 bil­lion. Rid­ing on the tri­umphal­ist In­dia story and his own en­ter­prise, Jig­nesh cre­ated a busi­ness em­pire across the world.

While the In­dia story has slowly slid off its cli­max, Jig­nesh has de­scended into his own ig­no­min­ious dé­noue­ment. His re­lent­less run of fi­nan­cial suc­cess was bro­ken in July this year with a Rs 5,600 crore scam at one of his firms, Na­tional Spot Ex­change Lim­ited ( NSEL), which de­faulted on pay­ments to thou­sands of in­vestors. It was a big­ger scam than Har­shad Me­hta’s two decades ago.

NSEL CEO An­jani Ku­mar Sinha has been ar­rested while Jig­nesh has been ques­tioned by the Eco­nomic Of­fences Wing ( EOW). Last week, EOW froze his bank ac­counts. A few days ago, he re­signed from the board of his com­pany Multi Com­mod­ity Ex­change of In­dia Lim­ited ( MCX), ap­par­ently to pre-empt the For­ward Mar­kets Com­mis­sion ( FMC) which had asked him to prove he was ‘fit and proper’ to be on the

MCX board af­ter the scam at NSEL. Tarred with the NSEL scam, the fallen hero of In­dian fi­nance is now in a hud­dle with lawyers in Mum­bai, look­ing for ways to ward off a vol­ley of al­le­ga­tions. Jig­nesh claims he was

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