Bangalore: Making his wealth public a day before stepping into the fray, former Infosys boss and Congress' Nandan Nilekani said he and his wife Rohini hold assets worth Rs 7,700 crore, by far the highest for any candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
"I started out with 200 rupees in my pocket, when I graduated from IIT; ...we founded Infosys with Rs 10,000," Nilekani's media team, quoting him, said. "Today, because of the success of a company built from scratch, Nandan and Rohini have assets of Rs 7,700 crore," a release issued by the media team said.
Saying he is proud of the fact that his wealth is completely transparent, he said, "I haven't made any of my money illegally, or hid it in investments outside the country."
Chief architect of UPA'S flagship "Aadhar" scheme, Nilekani is pitted against BJP's Ananth Kumar in the Bangalore South constituency.
The wealth of rival Ananth Kumar, a five-term MP, was nothing as eye-popping as the Nilekanis'. Kumar has declared himself poorer than his wife Tejaswani.
In an affidavit filed yesterday, Kumar has declared his total assets stands at Rs 51.12 lakh, while Tejaswani owns assets worth of Rs 3.86 crore. Total assets owned by the family is Rs 4.4 crore.
According to a 2011 declaration, Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party was the richest minister with assets of Rs 122 crore.
Nilekani said, "Most of our wealth, almost 80 per cent remains in Infosys shares; ...This wealth was created while Infosys brought lakhs of jobs to Bengaluru. The company also shared a lot of wealth with our employees through ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan)."
He said he still owns 1.45 per cent, and Rohini 1.3 per cent of Infosys. "Nothing is hidden in someone else's bank account. It is all completely transparent, and tax-paid," he added.
"Nothing is hidden in someone else's bank account. It is all completely transparent, and tax-paid," he added. Since 1999, both are said to have donated almost Rs 400 crore of their wealth to various causes and charities. "I have worked in the social sector for more than 15 years now...and when I came into some money through the sale of Infosys shares, I was able to spend more on my philanthropy," Rohini Nilekani said.