The Reliance Anil Ambani group has filed a Rs 5,000-crore ($ 780 million) defamation suit in Ahmedabad against Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, accusing him of making "false, defamatory and libellous statements".
The suit has been filed in the Gujarat High Court.
According to company sources, the Congress leader "made false, defamatory and libellous statements against the group. We have filed a Rs 5,000-crore suit for damages against him for making these false and defamatory statements".
Singhvi had, on November 30, attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, contending that he was "fooling" people by saying the government had not waived loans of big defaulters.
Alleging that the government 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 charged that the Finance Minister, instead of declaring these liabilities as NPAs, was "trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal".
"One of them had last month publicly declared they are shutting their telecom business with a liability of Rs 45,000 crore due to banks. We would like to ask the finance minister that far from declaring it as NPAs, you are trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal. Why?" Singhvi had asked.
A Reliance Defence statement had earlier clarified 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.
The statement had added: "Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations. Over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India. Offsets referred to are spread over a period of nearly 10 years."