Diamonds are a boy's best friend too

Ambanis and diamantaire family line up an alliance

By Our Special Correspondent in Mumbai
  • Published 5.03.18
  •  
Akash Ambani
 

Mumbai: Akash Ambani, arguably one of the most eligible bachelors in the country, is getting hitched.

The 25-year-old scion of Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, India's largest private conglomerate, is due to wed Shloka Mehta later this year. Shloka is the youngest daughter of Russell Mehta, owner of the Rosy Blue empire, one of the world's largest diamantaires.

Reports suggest that Akash and Shloka studied together at Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai and have been close friends for years.

Neither family has commented on the wedding as yet. A spokesperson for Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) also refused to comment on a very personal matter.

However, reliable sources confirmed the news. "Yes, Akash Ambani is getting married to Shloka Mehta. However, neither the date for the engagement nor the date for the wedding has been fixed," a source said.

The buzz in Mumbai is that the engagement will be announced in the next few weeks with the wedding due to take place in India in December. But this could not be confirmed.

This isn't the first time that someone from the Ambani family - Gujarati Modh banias who trace their origins to the town of Modasa, north of Ahmedabad - will be marrying into a family of diamantaires, a tightly knit clan of Palanpuri Jains who also hail from Gujarat.

Mukesh Ambani's niece Ishita Salgaonkar, daughter of his sister Dipti, married Nishaal Modi in December 2016. Nishal is the brother of Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamantaire who has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank of over Rs 12,600 crore. Shloka's mother Mona Mehta is also related to Nirav.

In May last year, Shloka's elder sister Divya married Ayush, son of Amit Jatia who has the McDonald's franchise for the west and south through Hardcastle Restaurants. The Ambanis had attended the wedding that took place in Bahrain.

Shloka, the youngest daughter of Mona and Russell Arunbhai Mehta, has been a bright student and secured 95 per cent in the IGCSE exams from Dhirubhai Ambani International School. In 2009, she went on to study anthropology at Princeton University and masters in law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Shloka has been a director on Rosy Blue Foundation since July 2014 and a co-founder of ConnectFor, which matches volunteers with NGOs that need them.

Akash is a director on the board of Reliance Jio, the telecom giant that has shaken the foundations of the industry in the past 18 months. Jio is a fully owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries which reported consolidated revenues of Rs 330,211 crore (over $50 billion) in the year ended March 2017.

Russell Mehta is the managing director of Rosy Blue India, which is a sightholder of DTC (the diamond trading and distribution arm of De Beers) and a preferred client of Alrosa, the state-owned Russian diamond mining major. DTC has only 76 sightholders, of which 25 are Indian firms.

It has a retail jewellery chain - Orra - set up in 2004. It trades in both rough and polished diamonds and has cutting and polishing factories in Mumbai and Indore.

The diamantaire owes its origins to B. Arunkumar & Co, which was launched as a small partnership firm in 1960, trading in polished diamonds, out of a small office in Zaveri Bazar in Mumbai. It exported its first diamond parcel to Hong Kong in 1963.

It has since expanded operations and now has presence in 12 countries, including Antwerp in Belgium, the hub for the world's trade in diamonds.