Rafale Deal: Reliance to withdraw defamation case

Reliance Group. PTI file photo

Anil Ambani's Reliance Group on Tuesday said that it has decided to withdraw the Rs 5,000 crore defamation suits against several Congress leaders and National Herald newspaper for “defamatory” remarks on the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal.
 
A statement issued by the company’s spokesperson said, “We believe that the defamatory statements by certain individuals and corporate bodies with regard to the offset agreement between Reliance Group and Dassault Aviation were made for political purposes in the run up to the Lok Sabha election 2019 that concluded on Sunday, 19 May. Besides, the subject matter is pending for adjudication before the Supreme Court.”
 
Last year, the company had filed more than a dozen suits in Ahmedabad city civil and sessions court. These civil suits were filed against Congress leaders including Sunil Jakhar, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Oommen Chandy, Ashok Chavan, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Shaktisinh Gohil, several journalists and National Herald newspaper.
 
When contact advocate P S Champaneri, who has been representing several Congress leaders in this case, told DH, “I was informed by Reliance’s counsel that the company wants to withdraw the suits. Their lawyer also informed the court about the decision but there is nothing in writing as yet. As a matter of fact, I have been told that letters in this regard have already been dispatched to many of these respondents informing them that the cases are being dropped.” The process of withdrawal may be taken up on June 14 when the court reopens after summer vacation.
 
The suits had been filed by Reliance Infrastructure Limited, Reliance Defense Limited and Reliance Aerostructure Limited, whose offices had been cited at both-Mumbai and Navrangpura in Ahmedabad. In one of the suits that was filed against National Herald it was stated by the company that news article was "misleading" with headline "Anil Ambani floated Reliance Defence 10 days before Modi announced Rafale deal."
 
It claimed that defendants in the article made "incorrect, false, frivolous, baseless, derogatory and defamatory remarks and statements with a view to harm reputation of the plaintiffs, the Reliance Group and its chairman Anil D Ambani and to lower their esteem in the minds of public at large."

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