| Anil and mother Kokilaben (left) arrive at the Reliance Infocomm headquarters. (AFP) See Business Telegraph
Mumbai, June 26: Arriving in a cavalcade of Mercs, a Toyota Landcruiser Prado and a Range Rover, Anil Ambani today set foot for the first time in the 140-acre Reliance Infocomm fortress ' the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City brother Mukesh built from scratch only to give it up in the recent settlement.
Anil was at the wheel of a maroon Mercedes Benz S320, driving from the family’s Sea Wind residence in upscale Cuffe Parade to Kopar Khairane at other end of the city, a good 35 km. Wife Tina in a georgette sari worn in the Gujarati style accompanied him.
Following at a distance were mother Kokilaben, who helped settle the slugfest between the brothers, and his children Jai Anmol and Jai Anshul. Sisters Nina and Dipti and their husbands were there, too, along with their children.
No, Mukesh Ambani wasn’t there, if that’s what you’re wondering about; nor was his wife Nita who only three years ago in a grand ceremony unfurled the mobile telephony service with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee doing the inauguration through a webcast.
Anil and wife Tina were notable absentees then, sparking speculation of differences between the brothers which at the time was denied.
Infocomm employees were waiting outside, braving the intermittent drizzle, when the younger brother appeared at the gate at 10.15. Walkie-talkie sets began to crackle excitedly as security guards issued directions on his movements.
Anil stopped but did not alight, proceeding instead to the Radhe Krishan temple in the office complex, though he appeared to have had a darshan of the deities in the morning as a huge tilak still graced his wide forehead.
Photographers invited to witness the occasion became restive as he disappeared into the temple which was a few furlongs from “I” Block, Mukesh’s den when he was chairman.
“Finally, finally, finally,” S.P. Shukla, president, wireless products and services at Infocomm, was heard saying as news reached him through the walkie-talkies of the new chairman’s arrival. As Anil headed to “I” block, there was a melee of photographers and employees at the entrance to the chairman’s office.
“If you all can go out, I can go in,” he said.
After fighting a bruising seven-month battle with elder brother, he wasn’t about to let this stop him.
Anil was handed the access card to get him entry as family priest Jignesh and the rest of the Ambani clan moved towards the chairman’s office.
They stayed there for a little less than an hour, praying for luck and prosperity. Sweets were later distributed to employees and waiting journalists outside the building.
Anil shook hands with employees and visited a few of the blocks, including the national network operating centre, the heart of Infocomm. Later, he addressed Infocomm employees through a nationwide webcast across the company’s 85 offices and locations.
“It is a privilege to assume the leadership of this great enterprise. We are committed to creating value and leading a billion Indians into the digital era.”
He praised his brother’s role in building Infocomm ' under Mukesh it became one of the few telecom companies in the world to report profits within two years of existence that was also marked by frequent controversies.
Going ahead, the company will face competition from the Mittals of Bharti, the Tatas and government-run BSNL and MTNL, which are making large investments.
Infocomm, now a part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises Group that the younger brother has created after the split, is India’s largest private information and communication service provider, with a subscriber base of over 11 million.
After the settlement, Mukesh, and his five fellow board members resigned while Anil got two of his nominees ' Gautam Doshi, a chartered accountant, and J. Ramachandran, a professor at IIM Bangalore ' in today.