Ambanis have differences

Wednesday, 24 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI:There are differences between the Ambani brothers who control Reliance Industries but these would be resolved soon, says Mansingh L. Bhakta a day after quitting as director of the company.

Bhakta, a law expert who had been on the Reliance Industries board for the last 27 years, told IANS in an exclusive interview that his resignation from the board had nothing to do with the raging ownership controversy.

"The whole issue is unnecessarily being played up by the media. The situation is not as alarming as it is being made out to be," said Bhakta, a senior partner in the city-based law firm Kanga and Company.

"There are differences between the two brothers but these differences are there almost in all big companies. Both the brothers are very practical and am sure the things will be resolved soon," he added.

On his sudden departure from the Reliance board amid the much talked about feud in the Ambani family over the ownership of India's largest private business conglomerate, Bhakta said he had been mulling over the question for long.

"It's just that the timing of my decision is very wrong. My decision to quit the Reliance board has got nothing at all to do with the ongoing controversy. The media is playing it up wrongly," he said.

"I have been reducing my directorship from various companies gradually for the last few years due to my old age. In the mid-1990s, I was on board of 25 companies.

"But this had been reduced to just three as of the day before yesterday. Now, after resigning from the Reliance board, I am on the board of directors of just two companies," said Bhakta.

Bhakta's resignation Tuesday had fuelled speculation in the market that Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, may recast the company board.

Rumours of a rift between the two brothers, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, who control the diversified operations of the Reliance group, had been raging for the last few months.

Things took a turn for the worse when a private TV channel reported last Thursday that Mukesh, 47, had admitted to "ownership issues" with his younger brother and vice chairman of the group, Anil, 45.

In an internal e-mail message to all the Reliance employees, Mukesh claimed Tuesday he was the final authority on all company matters and that the ongoing ownership controversy would have no impact on the group's functioning.

Source: IANS
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