In regulatory filings to Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, media house NDTV on Friday morning confirmed that Anil Ambani-run Reliance Infrastructure Limited, Reliance Defence and Reliance Aerostructure have filed a defamation suit against it claiming Rs 10,000 crore in damages for running a news story “The Ideal Partner in Rafale Deal” on its NDTV 24X7 news channel on 29 September.
The R-ADAG or Reliance-Anil Ambani Group of companies had earlier sued Congress-owned Associated Journal which publishes National Herald and senior party leaders for Rs 5,000 crore in damages for carrying similar “damaging” stories which according to R-ADAG “creates an impression in public minds that it has been receiving undue favours from the government of the day”.
The first hearing in the matter, NDTV informed the exchanges, is scheduled for 26 October in Ahmedabad City Civil Court. The media house while requesting the stock exchanges to take the filings on record rejected the charges of defamation and said it would contest the matter in court.
“The company outrightly rejects any charges of defamation and will present relevent material to the court to contest the matter.” The story was run as a part of NDTV’s weekly programme “Truth versus Hype.”
R-ADAG companies , market reports say, have been filing similar defamation suits ranging from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 10,000 since late August 2018 against several journalists and newspapers — national as well as regional — saying the reports have hurt the reputation of the group companies as they suggest the company has received undue favours from the governments both in India and France.
R-ADAG swung into action after Congress president Rahul Gandhi consistently alleged that the Narendra Modi government has ensured that Anil Ambani accrued Rs 30,000 crore “benefit” from the Rafale deal. In the latest clarification Rafale maker Dassault has said Ambani’s concerns will get just 3 per cent of the Rs 30,000 offset amount.
The French company’s statement came after the Supreme Court directed the government to give in a sealed envelop details of negotiations between two governments that culminated in buying 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation. Company circles expect the top judiciary to hold its hearing ahead of Diwali.