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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Sonia uses Reliance jet for Moscow trip

rediff Business Bureau | June 15, 2005 19:38 IST

Consider this:

  • The Ambani brothers have been locked in a seven-monthbattle overownership of the Reliance business empire. Reliance is arguably India's mostpolitically influential business conglomerate.
  • India's ruling Congress party has for long proclaimed to be neutral in the war between elder brother,Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, and Reliance Vice-Chairman Anil.

So when Sonia Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance chairperson and Congress party president, landed in Moscow in a Bombardier jet belonging to the Reliance group, it was bound to raise many an eyebrow, an International Herald Tribune report said on Wednesday.

The usage of the Reliance airplane for a foreign visit by Soniacould provide anti-Reliance groups in the UPA and Opposition parties with ammunition to attack the Congress with, especially because the Congress-led government is conducting several investigations into alleged infringements by Reliance, said the IHT report.

Also, the fact that Sonia, who does not hold an official position in the government, was on a semi-official visit to Russia could further raise the hackles of her detractors.

Despite her trip not qualifying as a State visit, high-level officials, including External Affiars Minister K Natwar Singh, accompanied Sonia.

Natwar Singh, however, took an Aeroflot flight instead of the chartered Reliance jet.

The Congress party chief arrived in Russia on a four-day visit on Monday as a private guest of President Vladimir Putin,the IHT said.

The report quoted an unnamed government official as sayingthe airplane had been hired from Reliance and he believed that the Congress party paid the rental.

The IHTsaidit was unclear if the airplane belonged to the Reliance group or to either of the Ambani brothers.

The brothers have been meeting various ministers and government officialssince their conflict became public. However, the government has taken a neutral view of the fight between the brothers, but adopted a tough posture on the issue of alleged violation of regulations by the company.

Reliance, by a fair margin, is India's most powerful business group. The $23 billion petrochemicals-to-telecom giant accounts for almost 3.5 per cent of India's gross domestic product. It pays approximately 10 per cent of India's indirect taxes.

Meanwhile, reports saida resolution to the bitterbattle between the Ambani brothers was imminent and an announcement about the settlement is likely to be made on July 6, the third death anniversary of their late father,group founder Dhirubhai Ambani.

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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: saffron rediff

Dont know who the author is but s/he seems like a drum major of the saffrom yahoos and the knickerwallas. Here is how the BJP ...

Posted by GB

Sub: Shameful

It is so shameful even to read news like this. Indian citizens are mute spectators of so called bigwigs flouting norms with impunity. Everyday one ...

Posted by Shrikant

Sub: sona, reliance.

do we have to say something? the congress leaders would have raised hue and cry if Advani had done the same thing during his visit ...

Posted by ashok

Sub: Ril Jet For Sonias Moscow trip

I personally feel that a Non Issue is being made an Issue! If she had taken a Govt Plane there wd have been a hue ...

Posted by Dr M.P.Narayanan

Sub: Gulfstream

I think the Ambani's have a Gulfstream jet and not a Bombardier...i guess i am not sure..

Posted by shridhar



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