Blood’s always thicker; Mukesh staves off Anil’s arrest, pays Rs 580 cr Ericsson dues

Blood’s always thicker; Mukesh staves off Anil’s arrest, pays Rs 580 cr Ericsson dues


Filial ties stay strong even in the midst of fierce business competition. This was proved on Monday in the case of the two big business Ambani brothers - Mukesh and Anil.

The younger one, Anil, thanked the elder for bailing him out of the financial crisis he had landed in over payment of dues to Swedish telecom equipment major Ericsson. Or else Mukesh would have to see his brother go to jail.

Anil acknowledged his gratitude to Mukesh for helping him pay up nearly Rs 580 crore and rescuing him from a three-month jail term.
It was on the last day of the one month given by the Supreme Court when the brother, among the top richest men in the world, came to the rescue of debt-riddled Anil, chairman of Reliance Communications (RCom).

Anil was quick to respond with a statement late on Monday, thanking his brother and sister-in-law Nita. “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’s statement said.

“I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply touched with this gesture,” he added. RCom paid Rs 458.77 crore to Ericsson on Monday, besides the Rs 3 crore more from amount of Rs 118 crore deposited earlier. According to reports, Mukesh, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Jio, gave some Rs 480 crore to his brother to close the case.

Ericsson demanded payment of dues, following a seven-year deal signed in 2013 to operate and manage the firm's network. The Supreme Court gave RCom deadlines on September 30 and December 15 for the payment, which unfortunately was not made. It was then that Ericsson filed the contempt petition against Anil Ambani, forcing him to get his brother cough up the amount or go to jail.

The tussle between the two brothers goes back to 2002 when their father Dhirubhai Ambani died without leaving a will. The three-year-old wrangle finally saw Anil get the prospective telecom business and financial services and power generation and Mukesh have oil-refining and petrochemicals.

Anil went out to match his brother’s business and landed into heavy borrowing. The non-compete clause between the brothers was the last straw for Anil. But it was scrapped in 2010 and Mukesh, who had to stay out of the telecom, came with his Jio brand and its bundle of free calls and cheap data offers. Anil, in a frenetic effort to stay competitive, continued with his borrowings only to be in deep financial crisis.

The RCom attempt after a pact to sell its spectrum to Jio on a Rs 1,400-crore corporate guarantee also failed to materialise as Mukesh made it clear that he would not be responsible for the past dues.

And yet in the midst of all this tiff, Mukesh proved that family bonds cannot be broken and rescued his brother.