Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has filed a Rs. 5000 crore defamation lawsuit against National Herald for an alleged ‘libellous and derogatory’ article published on the Congress mouthpiece regarding the Rafale deal. We had reported earlier that Reliance had issued a ‘cease and desist’ notice to Congress leaders stating that freedom of expression does not give politicians license to make distorted statements to suit their political interests.
The civil defamation suit was filed by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Aerostructure against the publisher of the National Herald, Associate Journals Limited, its editor in chief Zafar Agha and Vishwadeepak, the author of the article. The Companies further allege that the article titled ‘Anil Ambani floated Reliance Defence 10 days before Modi announced Rafale deal’ was libellous and defamatory and it “misleads the general public to believe that undue business favours are being extended to them by the government of the day”.
The defamation suit also claims that the article portrays a “negative image” and “adversely affects the public perception” of Reliance Group and its chairman Ambani. The article also caused “considerable damage” to the reputation and goodwill of the plaintiff firms.
The Congress party remains defiant and its national spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi, has claimed that the defamation suit is a deliberate attempt to silence their voices.
A defamation notice of 5000 crores from Ahmedabad Civil Court. Another attempt by Reliance Infra Ltd, Reliance Defence Ltd& Reliance Aerostructure Ltd attempt to silence our voices.
Agar Sache ho toh sawaalon ke jawaab do, aise notice dekar moonh bandh karaane ki koshish na karo!
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) August 25, 2018
The Congress party has maintained, despite significant evidence to the contrary, that the Rafale deal is a scam. Rafale chief Eric Trappier himself confirmed that the higher price was due to higher capabilities and nature of the contract between India and France. However, Congress President Rahul Gandhi refuses to heed a great deal of evidence and continues to target the Modi government using the Rafale deal.