New Delhi: Industrialist Anil Ambani, who avoided jail by paying back Swedish telecom giant Ericsson a day before a Supreme Court deadline, profusely thanked elder brother and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani for his “timely support”.
Anil Ambani’s debt-hit Reliance Communications paid Rs.458.77-crore to Ericsson on Monday. Last month, the top court had ordered Reliance Communications or RCom and two of its directors to pay Ericsson its dues within four weeks or face a three-month jail term for contempt of court.
“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and (sister-in-law) 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,” a late-night statement from Anil Ambani read. It said the support had come from his brother in “trying times”.
The statement from Anil Ambani, whose businesses in the telecom and power sectors ran into heavy debt over the years, also said that he and his family were “deeply touched” that they had moved “beyond the past”.
The brothers were caught in a bitter feud after their father, Dhirubhai Ambani, died without leaving a will in 2002. Although they eventually split his businesses, with Anil Ambani taking power and telecom and Mukesh Ambani keeping the oil and petrochemical businesses, the rift continued over a business commitment between the two.
The first signs of a thaw came about when their mother Kokilaben Ambani brokered peace between the two in May 2010. A few months later, Anil Ambani withdrew a Rs. 10,000-crore defamation suit filed against his brother over comments published in a New York Times article. Earlier this month, Anil Ambani and his wife – Tina – attended the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s son Akash with Shloka Mehta in Mumbai along with a host of high-profile personalities. He had earlier attended the wedding of his niece, Isha, with industrialist Anand Piramal.
The Supreme Court had held Anil Ambani in contempt in February, warning that he and two Reliance Communications employees will be sent to prison if they fail to clear Ericsson’s dues by March 19.