A Rs 5000 crore defamation suit was filed by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group companies involving Reliance Defence, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Aerostructure, against Congress-owned National Herald. An article published in the newspaper regarding the Rafale fighter jet deal was "libellous and derogatory," claimed the suit.
The company also filed a similar suit against Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil and sought Rs 5,000 crore in damages for defamation.
The suits were filed on Thursday in the court of city civil and sessions judge PJ Tamakuwala, who issued notices to the respondents and sought replies by September 7. The development was confirmed by advocate PS Champaneri, representing both the National Herald and Gohil.
The suit filed against Associated Journals Limited, the publisher of National Herald, its editor in-charge Zafar Agha and author of the article Vishwadeepak alleged that the article titled 'Anil Ambani floated Reliance Defence 10 days before Modi announced Rafale deal' was libellous and defamatory.
“It misleads the general public to believe that undue business favours are being extended to them by the government of the day,” the suit claimed.
The article conveys a "negative image" and "adversely affects the public perception" of Reliance Group and its chairman Ambani, it said.
Seeking damages of Rs 5,000 crore, the suit further alleged that the article has caused ‘considerable damage’ to reputation and goodwill of plaintiff firms.
The plaintiffs "vehemently" deny the content of the article, the petition said.
Legal notices were earlier sent to several Congress leaders by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, asking them to "cease and desist" from levelling allegations against the company in connection with Rafale deal.