Economic Affairs

India's 'billionaire raj': The fault lines beneath the bling

ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL
The Billionaire Raj reveals major fault lines in Indian society through the story of India's billionaires, their lifestyles and their business practices.
The Billionaire Raj reveals major fault lines in Indian society through the story of India's billionaires, their lifestyles and their business practices.PHOTO: CRABTREE
The Billionaire Raj reveals major fault lines in Indian society through the story of India's billionaires, their lifestyles and their business practices.

The super rich are not all crazy, rich wheeler-dealers, but India could do more to tackle issues of inequality and crony capitalism.

James Crabtree's elegantly written book on India's tycoons - The Billionaire Raj - has on its cover a photograph of Antilia, a 170m-high, 27-storey vertical palace in the heart of Mumbai, the home of India's richest man Mukesh Ambani and his family.

Billed as the most expensive residence in the world after Buckingham Palace, Antilia is said to have ceilings covered in chandeliers, sports courts, a temple, a theatre that can host Cirque du Soleil and Broadway productions, an "ice room" with man-made snow flurries and six floors of parking.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'India's 'billionaire raj': The fault lines beneath the bling '. Print Edition | Subscribe