The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Anil throws 500-page punch

Mumbai, Jan. 23: Anil Ambani has sought to strengthen his newly-revealed image as a crusader for corporate morality by preparing a weighty dossier on how under Mukesh Reliance Industries has fallen from the benchmark set by Dhirubhai.

It was revealed today that the 'roughly 500-page' report highlighting failures to maintain high standards of corporate governance, transparency and disclosure was submitted to a committee set up by the Reliance board.

The committee, on corporate governance, was formed after revelations that Mukesh had used a web of investment companies to invest in Reliance Infocomm, which is the elder brother's telecom baby. It has also been disclosed that Reliance paid a much higher price ' total investment stands at Rs 12,000 crore ' to acquire shares in its telecom venture than groups allegedly linked to Mukesh.

Although it is not known what the report, submitted before last week's board meeting, contains, these points could be a part of it.

Anil, who is vice-chairman and managing director, has expressed 'deep concern' at Reliance Industries (RIL)'s morality decline. The company is headed by Mukesh, who is chairman and managing director.

Sources said the report states that 'this failure is not in keeping with the legacy of RIL's founder chairman, Shri Dhirubhai Ambani, to be world class in all respects'.

The report pleads for 'appropriate steps in the interests of RIL's 30 lakh shareholders'.

A spokesperson for Anil refused to say anything. Reliance officials were not available for comment.

Y.P. Trivedi, the independent director and Supreme Court lawyer who heads the corporate governance committee, has ruled out any wrongdoing in the telecom investment. 'The company believes in total transparency. Nothing will be pushed under the carpet,' Trivedi had said after the January 21 board meeting.

Another director had disclosed that two retired judges had given a clean chit to the telecom investments.

It is gathered that Anil has written to the committee seeking, among other things, clarifications on opinions being taken from former judges. 'If so, why have they not been provided to board members' he asks.

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