Ambani brothers move beyond past; Mukesh Ambani saves brother Anil as debit paid off

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Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani
Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani

New Delhi : The Ambani brothers and their link with Indian economy need no special introduction. Dhirubhai's sons, Mukesh and Anil have been making headlines since their personal clash over property ownership which finally became public in 2004. And somehow on Monday, a dramatic intervention came in between the two brothers when the big brother Mukesh Ambani saved his younger brother Anil from imprisonment by paying money owed by him to Ericsson. The news broke at the eleventh hour of the deadline for Anil’s Reliance Communications to clear Rs 580 crore due to the Swedish equipment maker. 

Brother Anil Ambani seemed to be very thankful at his BIG B's kind deed. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” Anil Ambani said in the statement. 

“I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply touched with this gesture,” he added. 

As per Supreme Court order, Anil Ambani would have faced a a jail term of three months if the money hadn’t been paid by March 19. 

On March 18, the Anil Ambani on behalf of his bankrupt company RCom paid Rs 458.77 crore directly to Ericsson which also received Rs 3 crore more from the SC registry that the telco had deposited as penalty interest some 20 days ago. 

Earlier in 2005, we saw the watershed moment in the relationship between the two brothers, who built their separate business with Mukesh Ambani got the oil and petrochemicals business and Anil won control of power, telecoms and financial services.

The disturbing relationship between Mukesh and Anil began after their father Dhirubhai Ambani, a schoolteacher’s son and founder of the Reliance empire, died in July 2002. 

Reliance Communications (RCom) owned by Anil Ambani was hit by a fierce price war following the entry of Mukesh Ambani’s telecom upstart Jio, which offered free voice and cut-price data plans. In 2017, RCom shut down its mobile business.

Anil Ambani had also planned to sell airwaves and mobile masts to Jio, and real estate to other buyers for 181 billion rupees in a bid to bring its business to track. But RCom said the airwaves deal had been called off by “mutual consent” due to objections from India’s telecom department and more than 40 of the company’s foreign and domestic lenders.

Ericsson said RCom paid it dues of 4.62 billion rupees, the balance of funds that it was owed. RCom had already deposited 1.18 billion rupees due to Ericsson in February.

The Swedish firm approached the Supreme Court in 2018 over the unpaid dues from a deal it had signed in 2014 to manage and operate RCom’s network.