Saturday, November 03, 2007


Love your wife? Match this
- In season of gifts, Mukesh unwraps birthday jet for Nita
Nita and Mukesh Ambani

Mumbai, Nov. 2: Mukesh Ambani has just raised the bar for all husbands: he has reportedly forked out Rs 290 crore for a custom-built luxury Airbus jet for wife Nita on her 44th birthday.

Ambani, who heads Reliance Industries, has a net worth of Rs 249,000 crore — and can afford to make such grand gestures.

Ambani is believed to have gifted an Airbus 319 corporate jet, but it’s not your typical flying machine. Besides a business office, the plane has a special cabin for games and a music system, satellite television facilities, a master bedroom, a sky bar and mood lighting.

The Airbus 319 is a 120-seater in a commercial operation and can fly up to 6,800km non-stop. It can also be configured as a business jet.

The spokesperson for Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) refused to comment on the aircraft, but sources said the jet landed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport on Thursday when Nita celebrated her birthday.

The plane is still grounded in Delhi where certain formalities relating to its import need to be completed. The plane has to be registered with the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA). Officials at DGCA said they had not received any request yet. The sources said the plane could arrive in Mumbai on Saturday.

This is not the first time that the senior Ambani is giving his wife an expensive gift. Insiders say that around five years ago he gifted her a BMW.

Nita presented Mukesh a Maybach on his birthday two years ago. On his 50th birthday in April 19, Nita gifted him a biopic directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the director of Rang De Basanti. A key feature of the film was two shlokas sung by Pandit Jasraj, songs by Shaan and effusive comments by many Reliance employees about their boss.

The gift-giving isn’t going to stop. Next year, Ambani is planning to present Nita a Rs 4,000-crore, 27-storey building that is being constructed in Mumbai for a family of six. The building will have a helipad, health club and six floors of parking space.

Group insiders say the affection between the two is not seen only on occasions like birthdays. Nita enjoys the confidence of Mukesh in many other spheres as well. She set up the highly successful Dhirubhai Ambani International School (DAIS) and heads many of the group’s charitable trusts.

Recently, Nita played an important role in the makeover of the group’s textile brand, Vimal. She was also a key figure behind the rollout of the group’s retailing stores.

Diwali splurge

The Indian industry is expected to splurge Rs 2,000 crore on Diwali gifts and greetings this year, according to Assocham. The generosity purse is 48 per cent more than the Rs 1,350 crore it spent last year, adds PTI.

“The boom in the economy and mass-scale availability of durable, tempting products at competitive cost have encouraged companies to widely give away gifts to their business contacts during Diwali,” the chamber said in a statement.

According to an estimate by the chamber, pharmaceuticals, real estate, fast-moving consumer goods and civil aviation are likely to distribute gifts worth Rs 160 crore.
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