Billionaire Ambani Brothers Unite For Father’s Memorial


MUMBAI – India’s billionaire brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani have come together to dedicate a memorial to their late father, in the latest sign of a thaw in frosty relations between the tycoons.

The brothers, who fought a very public battle for the spoils of their father’s vast business empire, are spearheading the creation of a memorial in his home town of Chorwad, in western Gujarat state, sources said Tuesday.

Both men and their families were attending a two-day event in the town starting on Tuesday to mark what would have been Dhirubhai Ambani’s 80th birthday.

“A religious ceremony will be held at the Goddess Chorwadi temple on the evening of December 27,” a source at the tycoons’ giant Reliance group told AFP.

Reliance Industries Ltd Group president Piramal Nathwani told the Business Standard newspaper: “It will be perhaps the first time in the recent past that the Ambani brothers will be seen together at a family reunion.”

There have been increasing signs of a warming of ties between the brothers since their fight for control of Reliance after Dhirubhai died in 2002 without leaving a will.

After a protracted court case that saw their mother, Kokilaben, act as peacemaker, the pair agreed to bury the hatchet in 2010, tearing up a non-competition pact that prevented them entering the same sectors.

In November, Mukesh’s energy major Reliance Industries was reported to be in talks with several telecom players, including Anil’s Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group, to launch a broadband and Internet service.

On Tuesday, Kokilaben gave the clearest sign yet that the enmity is over, telling reporters in Chorwad: “There is love among the brothers… We are all united.”

The whole family last visited Chorwad in 1995. The memorial will later be open to the public, the Reliance source said.

Dhirubhai Ambani spent his childhood in Chorwad and left to work as an office clerk in Aden, which was then a British colony and is now part of Yemen.

He became a spice trader before returning to India to set up a cloth mill in Gujarat, which later expanded into a petrochemicals and energy giant.

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