Anil Ambani led Reliance group has slapped a Rs 7,000 crore defamation suit against the founder editor of The Citizen, Seema Mustafa, for its reportage on the much discussed Rafale defence deal, days after it sued NDTV for Rs 10,000 crore.
In response, The Citizen released a statement on its website stating that it rejects the charges made by Ambani and all “attempts to silence the media”.
— The Citizen (@TheCitizen_in) October 23, 2018
The statement reads as follows:
Anil Ambani’s, Reliance Infrastructure Limited & Others has filed ‘Suit for damages for Defamation’ against Seema Mustafa Founder- Editor of ‘The Citizen’ before Ahmedabad City Civil Court at Gujarat and demanded damages for a sum of Rs 7000 Crore. The suit follows our coverage on the Rafale defence deal.
The Citizen is a non funded news organisation that takes pride in honesty, courage and independence. We believe in professional integrity and maintain a code of ethics centring on public trust, truthfulness, fairness, integrity, independence and accountability. We are determined to fight for the truth.
The case is sub judice so it is difficult to say more at this stage. We need your support and solidarity.
We have rejected Ambani’s charges in toto and thank Senior Advocate, Colin Gonsalves and his legal team including Shreeji Bhavsar, Advocate for their amazing support.
We reject attempts to silence the media, and believe that an independent media – devoid of political or corporate funding – is crucial to the future of journalism. #TheCitizenIsYou
NDTV had said that at the hearing, scheduled for October 26, it would argue that “the charges of defamation are nothing more than a heavy-handed attempt by Anil Ambani’s group to suppress the facts and prevent the media from doing its job – asking questions about a defence deal and seeking answers that are very much in public interest”.
“As the Rafale deal has become a larger news story in India, the Reliance group has been on a notice-serving spree; to sue a news company for 10,000 crores in a court in Gujarat on false and frivolous charges, ignoring facts that are widely reported everywhere and not just by NDTV, can only be interpreted as an unsophisticated warning to the media to stop doing its job,” NDTV stated.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group had also filed a Rs 5,000 crore defamation suit against National Herald in September, saying that one of its published articles on the Rafale deal was “libellous and derogatory”.