The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Round II in RIL board battle

Mumbai, Jan. 7: After the stormy meeting on December 27, Mukesh and Anil Ambani will be thrown together again on January 21 when Reliance Industries directors gather to discuss the company's third quarter results.

The meeting takes place amid rumours of a settlement between the brothers, which, however, Mukesh's aides have denied.

Notices were sent today to stock exchanges about the Reliance board meeting as well as of the now Ambani-controlled Indian Petrochemicals Corporation (IPCL) a day earlier for the same purpose. Anil recently resigned from IPCL, headed by Mukesh, as vice-chairman.

The IPCL event could get nasty, like the December 27 Reliance meeting where Anil raised several objections only to be overruled by the majority, if the younger brother does attend it. So far, there is no word if his resignation has been accepted.

If Anil decides to be there, an uncomfortable situation could arise because of the presence of Anil Jain, the Mukesh aide, who is a director. Last week Anil had fired a salvo against Jain, calling him a 'modern-day Shakuni'.

In his resignation letter, Anil accused him of heading a conspiracy to divide the brothers and playing a negative role in their family affairs.

It will be the Reliance meeting the day after for which all eyes will be peeled, not in the least because traditionally Anil has been the spokesman for the company at the media interaction after the results are unveiled.

Given the recent acrimony, all of which has been exchanged through the media, it is possible that the Reliance board meeting may first decide on a framework for talking to the media and investors.

Reliance sources explained that this would simply mean easing Anil out of the spotlight. Even for Anil, it might turn out to be embarrassing having to answer questions about the battle with his brother on such public occasions.

Recent quarterly performance announcements saw Anil meeting only television and news agency representatives at Reliance Centre, which is his fief, for a few bites. The sources said, given the fact that he was almost the sole spokesman for the group on these occasions, a departure from the past should come as no surprise.

Yesterday, a TV channel set tongues wagging with reports of a settlement between the brothers on splitting the holding in Reliance under the tutelage of mother Kokilaben. Mukesh's associates denied this.

Rumours of a settlement are not new. Various formulas have been doing the rounds on the proportion in which the family's 34 per cent in Reliance will be shared by the brothers.

The latest formula talks of a division re of 33.33 per cent each for the mother and two brothers. Another fixes Kokilaben's share at 40 per cent, with the other 60 per cent shared equally between Mukesh and Anil.

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