Anil’s ‘crony’ reply with UPA projects

There are crony capitalists like Anil Ambani who are dishonest and who are the problem, Rahul had said

By TT Bureau in Mumbai
  • Published 6.05.19, 2:23 AM
  • Updated 6.05.19, 2:23 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Anil Ambani group said the Congress president “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”. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Anil Ambani group has rubbished Rahul Gandhi’s charge that promoter Anil Ambani is a crony capitalist of the Narendra Modi government who won sweetheart deals for his group.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) accused the Congress of waging a relentless campaign of “calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies” even as it claimed that the group had secured contracts worth over Rs 1 lakh crore from the UPA government during the decade when it was in power.

“There are crony capitalists like Anil Ambani who are dishonest and who are the problem,” Rahul had said in an interview over the weekend.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Anil Ambani group said the Congress president “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”.

It said Gandhi, in a “cavalier fashion, has continued his campaign of calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies”.

“He has singled out our group chairman Anil D Ambani as allegedly a crony capitalist and dishonest businessman — all obviously patently untrue statements,” the statement said.

Over the past year, the Congress president has accused the Modi government of handing an offsets contract related to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes from Dassault Aviation of France to the Anil Ambani group, claiming that it had benefited to the extent of Rs 30,000 crore.

In the past, the ADAG group has threatened to file defamation suits against the Congress and its spokespersons if they continued the vilification campaign against his group.

In the statement on Sunday, the group said that during the 10-year Congress-led UPA regime between 2004 and 2014, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group was awarded projects of over Rs 1 lakh crore across diverse infrastructure sectors such as power, telecom, roads, metro, by a government-led by the Congress party.

“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 Gandhi's own words,” the statement added.

The statement did not give a break-up of the various contracts that it had won between 2004 and 2014.

In the first two years of the UPA regime, the ADAG group was still a part of the undivided Reliance empire that had been spawned by patriarch Dhirubhai Ambani.

It wasn’t clear whether the Rs 1 lakh crore contracts that the group claimed to have won during the UPA regime including those awarded to the undivided group — and whether these had gone to the companies that were eventually demerged from the Reliance group in January 2006.

Some of the biggest projects that the group had won during the UPA regime included the Sasan and Krishnapatnam ultra mega power projects. But these were won through a transparent bidding process.

“We are delighted to have won India’s largest ultra mega power project through an international competitive bidding process,” Anil Ambani had said after winning the rebid for the Rs 20,000-crore Sasan ultra mega power project.

This was one of the reasons why in August 2014, the Supreme Court had allowed the Anil Ambani group to retain the coal mines that came along with the Sasan project when it struck down the allotment of 214 coal mines from July 1993 onwards because of what it termed the “vice of arbitrariness” in decision-making.