Anil Ambani firm sues Cong's Abhishek Singhvi for Rs5,000 cr

Following an exchange of allegations relating to the Rafale fighter jet deal ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls, Anil Ambani's Reliance Group has filed a Rs5,000-crore defamation suit against Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi in the Gujarat High Court, reports today said.

The suit against Singhvi alleging "false and defamatory statements" is likely to come up for hearing on Monday.

A Reliance Group spokesperson was not immediately available for comments. Earlier on 30 November, a spokesperson had stated, "Abhishek Singhvi has made false, defamatory and libellous statements against the group. We will be filing a Rs5,000-crore suit for damages against Singhvi for making these false and defamatory statements."

This came after Singhvi said union finance minister Arun Jaitley was fooling people by saying that the government had not waived loans of big defaulters. "We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs8.35 lakh crore to banks and out of those, three top Gujarat- based companies - Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Adani and Essar - owe Rs3 lakh crore.

"One of them had last month publicly declared that they are shutting their telecom business with a liability of Rs45,000 crore due to banks," he said in an apparent reference to Reliance Communications shutting down its 2G business.

Singhvi reportedly said that instead of declaring the liabilities as NPAs, Jaitley was "trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Refale deal".

The group's Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd had originally filed the defamation suit with a civil court in Rajula in Amreli district taking exception to "false, defamatory and libellous statements" in connection with the contract awarded to the firm in connection with the Rafale deal.

The company first clarified its position and then filed the defamation suit. A Reliance Defence statement had earlier said that the joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation was a bilateral agreement between two private companies and had nothing to do with the government.

The group's statement had added, "Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations. Over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India. Offsets referred to are spread over a period of nearly 10 years."

The company's manufacturing facility and registered office is situated in Rajula. The company's advocate, Saurabh Amin, said that the civil court returned the suit on the grounds of jurisdiction on 8 December. The company has filed an appeal in the high court against the lower court's order.