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Brothers at war: Part II

Ambani clan is at war again and this time battleground is Haryana SEZs .

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 11:37 IST

The Ambani clan is at war again and this time the battleground is the Special Economic Zone in Haryana. The Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Group (Reliance-ADAG) has shot off a letter to the RIL board --- promoted by Mukesh Ambani--- and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda objecting to the proposed 2,000 MW power plant in the SEZ, saying it violated the agreement between them.

RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani has announced a 2,000 MW captive plant in the Rs 25,000 crore SEZ project in Haryana. Reliance Energy Ltd said the project violated the terms of agreement (reached between Anil and Mukesh on June 18, 2005) as ratified by the Bombay High Court.

The brothers had decided that the Mukesh Ambani's group would have exclusive rights over the petroleum and petro- chemical business while Anil had power, finance and telecom business in his kitty. Though many skirmishes have taken place since the June settlement, this is the first public salvo fired.

The ADAG’s letter follows the signing of the Joint Venture agreement on Monday between RIL group company, Reliance Ventures Ltd, and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) for the SEZ, which would also seek third party investment to the tune of Rs 100,000 crore.

When contacted, REL officials confirmed that the letter had been received but declined to comment further. Sources close to RIL, on the other hand, argued that there was no violation, as anything that was incidental to a business was within their right.

Critics of the ADAG also point out that the power plant could not be seen a violation as a similar thing was done in the case of Reliance Petroleum, a company floated for expansion of RIL's refinery in Jamnagar. In the public offer document of Reliance Petroleum, which was listed earlier this year, a captive power plant was proposed.

HSIIDC Managing Director Rajeeve Arora, who was away, told PTI on phone that he had not seen the letter but official sources said the issue would be examined legally. They, however, maintained that the agreement for the Joint Venture, in which HSIIDC is a 10 per cent partner, is watertight and the SEZ will not be affected. A copy of the letter has been sent to the Haryana CM.