Anil Ambani drops $1.1bn lawsuit on Financial Times
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications has dropped its $1.1bn libel claim against the Financial Times which the industrialist had filed because of the way the paper had covered his business dealings.
The claim filed by RCom was part of 26 lawsuits filed by Anil Ambani-helmed businesses last year against media organisations, journalists and politicians.
According to the FT, “some of the claims pertained to reporting on a controversial Euro 8bn deal under which the Indian government agreed to purchase fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The acquisition involved a partnership with Mr Ambani’s defence business.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had made the Rafale deal a key plank during the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
The lawsuit had been filed in Ahmedabad last year “over an FT report on a now-abandoned agreement by RCom to sell most of its telecoms assets to rival operator Jio, part of Mr Ambani’s elder brother Mukesh’s group”.
Announcing that Anil Ambani had dropped his libel claim, the paper reported that Reliance Communications “applied and was allowed to withdraw its claim.
“The court granted a refund of its court fees, in accordance with court rules, while both sides will bear their own legal costs. The company had named two FT journalists as defendants, though proceedings were not formally served on them.
“The report highlighted the brothers’ contrasting fortunes. Since dividing their father’s corporate empire in 2005, Mukesh Ambani has gone on to become Asia’s richest man with a net worth of about $57bn, according to Forbes,” the FT report said.
“But the net worth of Anil Ambani, who was also once one of Asia’s wealthiest businessmen, has now shrunk to less than $2bn, according to Forbes, and RCom has entered bankruptcy proceedings,” the FT added.
The FT report said: “Anil Ambani was earlier this year bailed out by his elder brother when facing jail over an unpaid sum due to Swedish telecoms group Ericsson, a move that seemed to draw a line under a long-running, public falling out between the pair.
“Anil Ambani said at the time: ‘I and my family are grateful that we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture.’”