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Board with Mukesh: Reliance

Mumbai, Nov. 26: Mukesh Ambani apparently commands the full support of the board on all recent decisions, including the controversial one that elevated him to the 'final authority' in the group.

The board of Reliance Industries, the flagship of the group, 'has not accepted' younger sibling Anil Ambani's objections to the resolution of July 27 that gave over-riding powers to Mukesh, a company spokesperson said today.

On the other hand, the spokesperson said, the board had vested full authority in the chairman and managing director (Mukesh).

The developments at the July 27 board meeting ' seen as the flashpoint of the ongoing tussle ' became public when documents attributed to Anil surfaced yesterday.

'The RIL board did not accept points made by Anil. The RIL board finds no case for Mukesh to respond to the note,' the spokesperson said, referring to the younger Ambani's communications to the chairman questioning the legal validity of the redefinition of powers.

Politicians of all hues also appear to be working behind the scenes, especially from the two states where Reliance has a strong presence ' Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Rahul Bajaj, the head of the Bajaj group, also called on Mukesh yesterday. Bajaj, who is also locked in a battle with brother Shishir over the division of the group's assets, said: 'Nobody wants dirty linen to be washed in public.'

He did not say what he had discussed with Mukesh and claimed that he had met the Reliance chairman and six other industrialists yesterday in connection with a meeting of the Prime Minister's advisory council.

Sources said both camps have begun legal consultations and could approach an outside agency as early as next week.

The Reliance spokesperson said Mukesh was not exploring legal options just yet, but the sources claimed that either or both groups could approach the department of company affairs and market regulator Sebi or move the courts.

M.L. Bhakta, a partner at Kanga and Co. and a senior board member at Reliance, is still trying for a patch-up between the two brothers. If he fails, he could take up Mukesh's brief, legal circles said.

The two brothers went to their respective offices today. Mukesh operated from the Nariman Point office at Maker Towers while Anil was stationed at the spanking new office at Reliance Centre in Ballard Estate.

The sources said the sudden resignation by six directors of Reliance Energy was a strategic move by Anil's camp to pre-empt any predatory move.

At least five directors were nominated by Reliance Industries by virtue of its 41 per cent controlling stake in the power distribution and generating company. The sources said the resignations could be recalled next week when the board meets.

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