Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has sent a defamation notice to the news channel NDTV on October 18. According to NDTV, Anil Ambani has slapped a defamation suit, demanding compensation of Rs 10,000 crore. The news channel has reportedly informed Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of the defamation notice. The notice has been sent following the September 29 episode of the NDTV show ‘Truth vs Hype’, during which the issue of the controversial Rafale deal was raised – in a report titled ‘Ideal Partner in Rafale Deal’. The first hearing of the case is scheduled on October 26, in an Ahmedabad court.
In a response to the notice, NDTV has given a statement, in which it has refuted the Reliance Group’s claim, and has said that it “outright rejects any charges of defamation and will present material in court to support its case."
Calling the move a “brazen attempt at harassment and intimidation”, the channel said, in its statement on October 19: “As the Rafale deal has become a larger news story in India, the Reliance group has been on a notice-serving spree; to sue a news company for 10,000 crores in a court in Gujarat on false and frivolous charges, ignoring facts that are widely reported everywhere and not just by NDTV, can only be interpreted as an unsophisticated warning to the media to stop doing its job.”
The recent revelations in the Rafale deal has exposed the nexus between the government and the corporate giant Reliance. Former French President Francois Hollande, had claimed that they did not have a say in choosing the interlocutor. “The Indian government proposed this service group and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given,” ANI quoted Hollande as saying.
Under the infamous deal's offset clause, Indian companies including Reliance are set to get contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore.
The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal. It had claimed that the BJP government is procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore against Rs 526 crore finalised by the United Progressive Alliance government, when it was negotiating a deal for procurement of 126 Rafale aircraft.
Reliance has denied all allegations on its part.