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Anil stays away from IPCL meet; resignation kept in abeyance

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Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 20

THE Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd board today decided to keep in abeyance the resignation of Mr Anil Ambani as Vice-Chairman and Director of the company.

Mr Anil Ambani chose to stay away from the board meeting that was called to consider the company's third quarter results.

The company informed the stock exchanges that the board of directors discussed the resignation of Mr Anil Ambani and decided to request Mr Ambani to reconsider his decision.

This comes a day after the board of Reliance Energy decided to accept the resignation of two out of six of its Directors.

"The two instances are not comparable. In the case of IPCL, it is one of the promoters who has resigned and that makes it a much more sensitive issue," the head of a broking firm pointed out.

Mr Anil Ambani had resigned as Chairman of IPCL on Junuary 3, saying that he considered it below his dignity, self-respect and self-esteem to be on the same board with Mr Anand Jain. Mr Jain is considered to be a close confidante of Mr Mukesh Ambani.

Thus, for the board, it was a Hobson's choice that simply could not be made at this juncture, a source said. There was only one way to handle the issue, and that was to seek a reconsideration of the resignation, he added.

The board has apparently taken the safe path by deferring a decision on a tricky issue. The IPCL board just could not have accepted its Vice-Chairman's resignation, as it would have driven a fresh wedge in the existing divide between the brothers.

On the other hand, calling for Mr Jain's resignation to placate Mr Anil Ambani was also not desirable as it would have weakened Mr Mukesh Ambani's position, said the source.

"The IPCL board can keep the resignation in abeyance for as long as it wants. But the Director, if he wishes to, could push forward with the resignation. He can file Form 32 with Registrar of Companies to effect his resignation," said a legal expert.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 21, 2005)
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