FUTURES S FOR SHAH
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