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In the November issue, Dinesh Narayanan tracks the downfall of Jignesh Shah, the controversial billionaire who transformed India’s commodities market. After founding a successful trading-software firm in the early days of India’s market liberalisation, Shah established multiple lucrative trading platforms, including the pioneering commodity exchange MCX and the spot exchange NSEL, that operated in the crevices between official regulatory agencies—seemingly overseen by multiple bodies, but effectively overseen by none. His personal worth topped out, at above $1 billion, in 2008. But regulators shut down the NSEL last July, had Shah arrested this May for supposedly illegal trading on the bourse, and forced another of his companies to assume financial responsibility for the fallout, threatening an end to his entire empire. Shah’s tale is a parable of how far India still has to go in establishing capable institutions, free of bureaucratic and political tampering, that can ensure the health of the financial markets crucial to a robust market economy.

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