The Gujarat High Court today issued a notice to Congress party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi in the Rs 5,000 crore defamation suit filed against him by the Reliance Anil Ambani group. The notice was issued by Justice Paresh Upadhyay after hearing the petitioners and the next hearing has been scheduled for December 26. The defamation suit, filed on December 15, had accused Singhvi of making “false, defamatory and libelous statements”. Singhvi had, on November 30, attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for “fooling” people by claiming the government had not waived loans of big defaulters. Alleging that the Centre had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debt of wilful defaulters, he had said: “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and out of those, three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.” He had contended that Jaitley, instead of declaring these liabilities as NPAs, was “trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal”.
A Reliance Defence statement had clarified earlier 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.