Ambani mix-up confirmed
Justice K.M. Joseph, who wrote a concurring but separate judgment in the Rafale review case, acknowledged that the Supreme Court had mixed up the names of the Ambani brothers —Mukesh for Anil — in the judgment of December 14, 2018.
Anil’s Reliance group is associated with the Rafale deal.
The 2018 verdict was delivered by the apex court bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Joseph himself.
On Thursday, Justice Joseph wrote: “The very first statement in paragraph 32… would appear to point to the court taking into account a press release suggesting that there was possibly an arrangement between the parent Reliance company and Dassault starting from the year 2012.
“It is stated as to what transpired between the two corporates would be best left to them. In this regard, in the review petition, it is pointed out that this court has grossly erred in confusing Reliance Industries of which Mr. Mukesh Ambani is the chairman with that of Reliance Infrastructure, of which Mr. Anil Ambani is the chairman….
“It is further contended that Mr. Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure is the parent company of Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL), which is the beneficiary of the offset contract, and there is no possibility of any arrangement between Reliance Infrastructure Limited with Dassault Aviation in 2012.”
Justice Joseph added: “There appears to be considerable merit in the case of the petitioners that in this regard, this court had fallen into clear error that there was possibly an arrangement between the parent Reliance company and Dassault dated back to the year 2012.
“The parent Reliance company which was referred in the judgment is Reliance Industries which is a completely different corporate body from Reliance Infrastructure which appears, according to the petitioners, to be the parent company of RAL.”
The judgment by the two other judges on the bench — Chief Justice of India Gogoi and Justice Kaul — also referred to the mistake but added: “That may be so, but in our observation this aspect was referred to in a generic sense more so as the decision of whom to engage as the offset partner was a matter left to the suppliers and we do not think much can be made of it.”