Billionaire blood feud

September 26, 2008

World’s sixth richest man Anil Ambani sues his brother for 100 billion rupees (£1.2bn) over industrial spying claim. From The Times:

Anil Ambani, left, and his estranged elder brother Mukesh. The Times/ Reuters photo

In happier times: Anil Ambani, left, and his estranged elder brother Mukesh. The Times/ Reuters photo

The world’s richest – and possibly most fractious – brothers are poised to go head to head in the mother of all libel battles.

Anil Ambani, the world’s sixth-richest man with a fortune of £23 billion, is suing his estranged elder sibling Mukesh, the fifth-wealthiest with £23.5 billion, for 100 billion rupees (£1.2 billion).

According to court documents, Anil alleges that Mukesh damaged his reputation by falsely suggesting in an interview with The New York Times that his younger sibling ran a network of private spies that “collects data about the vulnerabilities of the powerful”.

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The reverse Raj: Indian businesses turn tables on imperial master

March 30, 2008

Britain took commercial and cultural advantage of India as its imperial master. Now a new generation of wealthy Indians is reversing the roles. Dean Nelson in The Sunday Times, UK:

The assembled businessmen wore black ties and listened politely to a string quartet under crystal chandeliers in a magnificent ballroom. The room buzzed with talk of the old country, but more importantly with commercial speculation about their new domain. What was to be their next takeover target in the local economy?

It could have been a sepia print of the British East India Company, which effectively ruled India as a private colony for 100 years, but a closer look revealed a different kind of burra sahib. More Chandigarh than Cheam, the men gathered at the Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair, central London, last year were the representatives of a new Indian raj, powerful men intent on buying up chunks of the homeland of their old imperial masters.

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Is this the Indian century?

Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian, UK:

Shishir Bajoria is meant to be talking about India’s rise and the world economy, but first he wants to raise the really big stuff. “Have you seen the cricket?” he asks, and launches into an unkind description of the Australian player he saw whingeing on telly this morning about the bullying Indian cricket board. “A white man – a white man! – complaining about racism.” And he throws up his palms as if to say, how upside down can you get?

That’s not the only topsy-turvy thing around here. Take our location: the Bengal Club, the leading social club in Calcutta, former capital of British India. There was a time when it wouldn’t have let the likes of Bajoria through the door. “In the Bengal Club, they don’t allow dogs or Indians,” reported Somerset Maugham in 1938, “but in the Yacht Club in Bombay they don’t mind dogs; it’s only Indians they don’t allow.”

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