| Mukesh and Anil
Mumbai, Dec. 8: The shadow-boxing between Brothers Ambani has turned serious.
Younger scion Anil Ambani has peeled off the gloves and come out flailing in the open with a set of five questions he fired at Mukesh who has anointed himself as the 'final authority' in the Rs 99,000-crore Reliance group.
Anil said if it was true that ownership and management issues had been settled during father Dhirubhai's lifetime, how was it that he was not informed'
'If management issues had been resolved in Dhirubhai's lifetime, how is that I have no details or information about the same even till today' Anil is reported to have asked.
He wanted to know why such market-sensitive information had not been communicated to capital market regulator Sebi and the stock exchanges.
He also wanted to know why no disclosures had been made to the board of directors and shareholders of Reliance Industries. The clincher was: if these issues had indeed been decided in July 2001 (when Dhirubhai was alive), why had it taken until July this year to re-assign the responsibilities of the two brothers and other directors giving Mukesh overall say in management'
But even as Anil fired the latest salvo in what has turned out to be India Inc's most gripping family battle, there were indications that a couple of peace-brokers were working feverishly behind the scenes to effect a truce.
K.V. Kamath, chief executive of ICICI Bank, has emerged as one of the mediators.
'People are trying to patch up the differences. We are very optimistic but cannot set a time frame. The mediators are family friends and well-wishers,' sources said.
One view is that Anil wants to keep the issue boiling and in public gaze even as the mediators do their work quietly so that he can wrest the best possible deal from an unhappy set of circumstances.
Anil has reportedly been offered control of two group companies ' Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital ' and a pile of cash that is currently being negotiated.
Observers said it was in Anil's interest to keep flinging the barbs on an almost daily basis as 'he, after all, is the aggrieved party'.
Unlike in the past, Anil's broadside today was fired in the early hours of trading when the business channels came on air.
The official Reliance Industries version says all ownership and management issues were settled during Dhirubhai's lifetime. The management of the myriad investment companies that own shares in Reliance was put under the Reliance chairman.
There had to be a 'control authority and a chain of command' based on the principle that there could not be two Prime Ministers in a country.
Reliance Industries sources said there was a clear hierarchy in the company. Mukesh was appointed executive director on February 21, 1981. Anil was first co-opted as executive director on May 1, 1984.
Mukesh was also re-designated vice-chairman and managing director on August 19, 1994, and Anil made managing director the same day.