Anil Ambani Files Rs 5,000 Crore Defamation Case Against National Herald Over Article On Rafale Deal
The Logical Indian Crew India
August 27th, 2018 / 6:54 PM
Amidst the ongoing spat between the Congress party and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group over the contentious Rafale jet deal, the latter has served the Congress-run National Herald with a Rs 5000 crore defamation suit. Reportedly, the Reliance Group in their civil defamation suit has claimed that an article published in the newspaper regarding the Rafale fighter deal was “libellous and derogatory”.
Reliance Group serves legal notice to National Herald
According to the Times Of India, the suit was filed by Reliance Defence, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Aerostructure against the publisher of the National Herald, Associated Journals Limited, its editor-in charge Zafar Agha and the author of the particular article in question, Vishwadeepak as well.
In the suit, it was alleged by the companies that an article titled “Anil Ambani floated Reliance Defence 10 days before Modi announced Rafale deal” is not only defamatory to the company but also “misleads the general public to believe that undue business favours are being extended to them by the government of the day,” reported the daily.
The petition further stated that the article conveys a “negative image” and even “adversely affects the public perception” of Reliance Group and its chairman Ambani.
Reportedly, the suit was filed by the companies on August 24 in the court of city civil and sessions judge P J Tamakuwala. Advocate P S Champaneri, who according to Deccan Chronicle is representing National Herald has said that the court has sought replies from the respondents by September 7.
Reliance Group serves notice to Congress party members
Moreover, Reliance Group has also sent defamation notices to Congress leaders Sanjay Nirupam, Prithviraj Chavan, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, among others for spreading “misinformation” about Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence, in connection with the Rafale deal. Earlier, Reliance had sent a “cease and desist” notice to Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill. This notice reportedly had asked him and other Congress leaders to behave responsibly failing which they would face a legal action.
Received “Cease & Desist” Notice from Sh Anil Ambani threatening me with legal consequences if I speak on #RafaleDeal; My reply-I’m a Congress Soldier, a Proud Punjabi who doesn’t get scared with such notices-Tax Payer of this country deserves to know why they paid extra 42000 Cr
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) August 22, 2018
Previously Anil Ambani had written a letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying that their corporate rivals have misinformed his party on the Rafale fighter jet deal. Not only this but even on August 8, activist and advocate Prashant Bhushan along with former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie held a press conference. This press conference was to talk about the Rafale deal, which is probably one of the biggest controversies surrounding the present government.
They had alleged that not only has this deal caused a huge loss to the exchequer, it has, in fact, may have compromised national security.
What is the Rafale Deal?
The UPA government floated a tender on 20 August 2007, for the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Air Force. Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon were shortlisted after the primary process.
Rafale was declared L1 vendor as the bidder with lowest price quotation (with a base price of $10.20 billion, amounting to Rs 54000 crores at that time). 18 out of the 126 aircraft were supposed to come in flyaway condition and the rest were to be manufactured in India by state-owned HAL with the help of Dassault.
On September 23, 2016, the current Indian government concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore which is different from an earlier deal signed at Rs 90,000 crore for 126 Rafale jets. This is the first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90’s.
Written by : Sromona Bhattacharyya
Edited by : Abhinav Joshi