Mumbai, March 25: Anil Ambani has resigned from the Rajya Sabha in the middle of the turmoil over offices of profit, cutting short a stint in public life that apparently played a role in widening the rift in the Reliance family.
“It is my firm view that, in public life, one must uphold the highest standards of transparency, propriety and ethics and avoid any possibility of controversy, however remote or unlikely. Keeping this in mind, I have decided to tender my resignation from the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” Anil said in a statement released in Mumbai.
Anil, an honorary member of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council, did not explicitly refer to the office of profit issue but his statement suggested that he did not want to take any chances.
No one has till now pointed fingers at Anil for holding that post but a complaint has been filed against Amar Singh, who heads the council and belongs to the Samajwadi Party with the support of which the Reliance scion was elected as an Independent candidate to the Rajya Sabha.
Amar, who has been asked by his party not to resign, expressed “sadness” at Anil’s decision.
Jaya Bachchan, whose disqualification triggered the storm, was also elected to the Rajya Sabha with the Samajwadi’s support. By resigning, Anil has denied potential trouble-makers a chance to target him next.
Industry watchers say the resignation also gives Anil the opportunity to distance himself ' however subtly ' from the Samajwadi even as he hunkers down to the onerous job of managing the Rs 70,000-crore group that he carved out as a result of the settlement reached with brother Mukesh last year. The group has 8 million shareholders, making it the largest investor family in India.
Unlike Jaya, Anil has no intention of contesting the polls again since he plans to stay on as a member of the development council, which he joined in October 2003.
The industry feels that Anil has decided to focus on his corporate responsibilities that have magnified since he struck out on his own. “He plans to give total and undivided attention to his group of companies which are all potentially high-growth businesses but face intense competition,” said an industry source.
Anil’s rapport with the Samajwadi leadership and his election to the Rajya Sabha with the party’s support in 2004 were seen as the final acts that drove a wedge between him and Mukesh.
Dhirubhai Ambani had always believed that politics and business didn’t mix and had never really wanted to see any member of his family nurse political ambitions. Mukesh felt the same way ' but Anil had different ideas.
Anil had made what eventually came to be viewed as his first political gambit when he announced plans to establish a 10,000-mw power plant at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in January 2004, which upset Mukesh.
The elder scion’s supporters had claimed that the announcement had been made without seeking the prior approval of the Reliance Industries board but Anil had disputed this assertion.