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Anil withdraws Rs 10,000 cr defamation suit against Mukesh

Mumbai: Industrialist Anil Ambani withdrew a Rs 10,000 crore defamation suit against elder brother Mukesh Ambani in the Bombay High Court, signalling a further thaw in their relationship.

“Yes, we have withdrawn the suit claiming Rs 10,000 crore as damages”, a Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group spokesman said.

Anil had dragged his brother to court, alleging that Mukesh had defamed him in an interview to ‘New York Times’ that was reproduced in two leading Indian newspapers (in June 2008). The two newspapers had also been made respondents in the suit.

The withdrawal of the suit comes weeks after the brothers decided to scrap a non-compete agreement between their group companies and pledged to expeditiously renegotiate a gas supply agreement on the lines of the Supreme Court verdict of May 7.

The defamation case itself was based on an interview given by Mukesh Ambani to the leading American publication wherein the ‘New York Times’ quoted him as saying that a network of lobbyists and spies were overseen by his brother before they split.

“What most distinguishes Reliance from its rivals is what Ambanis friends and associates describe as his ‘intelligence agency’ a network of lobbyists and spies in New Delhi who they say collect data about the vulnerabilities of the powerful, about the minutiae of bureaucrats’ schedules, about the activities of their competitors,” the ‘New York Times’ had said.

Mukesh is purported to have said in the interview that all such activities were overseen by his brother before they split, and had since been expunged from his tranche of the company. “We de-mergered all of that,” Mukesh was quoted as saying.

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