The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group has filed a Rs 5,000-crore defamation suit before the Gujarat High Court against Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, IANS reported on Friday. Singhvi, the company alleged, had made “false, defamatory and libellous statements” about it.

On November 30, the Congress leader accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “fooling people” by claiming that the government had not waived the loans of big defaulters and accusing the previous United Progressive Alliance government of not taking any action against defaulters.

The government, Singhvi said, had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debt of wilful defaulters. “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and out of those, three top Gujarat-based companies – Reliance [the Anil Ambani Group], Adani and Essar – owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”

Instead of declaring these liabilities as non-performing assets, Jaitley was “trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal”, Singhvi had alleged.

Congress President-designate Rahul Gandhi had also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of altering India’s Rafale deal with France for the benefit of Anil Ambani, but the company denied these allegations.

Reliance Defence clarified that its joint venture with French firm Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the Rafale fighter jets, was a bilateral agreement between two private companies, and had nothing to do with the government.