The Anil Ambani group on Sunday took Congress President Rahul Gandhi head on by calling the latter’s allegations of crony capitalism against its chairman as “calumny, disinformation, distortion, and malicious lies.”
In recent election-eve media interactions and rallies, Rahul has singled out Anil Ambani several times for winning the Rafale defence contract from the Narendra Modi government, alleging favouritism and corruption.
In a statement on Sunday, a Reliance Group spokesperson said it was during the 10-year Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime between 2004 and 2014 that Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group was awarded projects of over Rs 1 trillion across diverse, key nation-building infrastructure sectors such as power, telecom, roads, Metro, by a government led by none other than Rahul’s own political party — the Congress.
“The Reliance group is proud to have made this contribution to our great country — India — creating the much-needed investments and jobs, a critical backbone for a vibrant, strong, and growth-oriented economy,” the spokesperson said.
The Reliance Group takes this opportunity to request (Rahul) Gandhi to clarify whether his government, for 10 long years, was supporting an alleged crony capitalist and dishonest businessman, to use his own words, it said.
Rahul has accused Prime Minister Modi of giving Rs 30,000 crore of Rafale offset contracts to Anil Ambani at the cost of government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics. The offset contracts were given by Rafale fighter jet maker Dassault Aviation of France in lieu of India buying aircraft worth Rs 1.26 trillion.
The spokesperson said Rahul, in his typical cavalier fashion, has continued his campaign and singled out Anil Ambani as allegedly “a crony capitalist and dishonest businessman — all obviously patently untrue statements”.
“As is by now, customary for all of (Rahul) Gandhi’s public statements, he has attributed no basis to these claims whatsoever, and neither has he provided any credible evidence at all to justify his derogatory and defamatory campaign,” said the statement.
“We, at the Reliance Group, have chosen to ignore (Rahul) Gandhi’s comments with continuing patience and restraint. We likewise dismiss his latest remark as yet another one of his multiple untruthful utterances, in the heat and dust of his electoral campaign, for which he has recently been facing contempt proceedings in the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court,” the statement said.
“The Reliance Group is a proud young Indian group, with over 100,000 employees and over 8 million strong shareholders, the largest in the world and completely dedicated to our great country,” the statement said.
In recent months, most of the Anil Ambani group companies are facing the heat on the stock market after two of its group companies — Reliance Communications and Reliance Naval — were referred to the National Company Law Tribunal for debt resolution.
As the operating companies defaulted on debt, lenders sold shares of Reliance Group entities in the market to recover part of their debt.