Businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications has withdrawn a $1.1 billion civil defamation suit against London-based daily Financial Times, the newspaper reported on Friday.
The firm had filed a case against Financial Times’ Mumbai correspondent Simon Mundy, South Asia bureau chief Amy Kazmin and the company Financial Times Limited, London, on January 30, 2018 in an Ahmedabad court. The newspaper had published several Reliance Group-related articles under Mundy’s byline, including a long feature on January 4 on how Anil Ambani faced “a humbling denouement to the Bollywood-like feud with older brother Mukesh”, after he sold off key assets of Reliance Communications to his brother’s firms.
Reliance Communications “applied and was allowed to withdraw its claim”, the Financial Times said. “The court granted a refund of its court fees, in accordance with court rules, while both sides will bear their own legal costs.”
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The case against Financial Times was among 28 defamation suits filed by four Anil Ambani-owned companies in Ahmedabad courts in 2018. Eight cases were against politicians from Opposition parties, while 20 cases were against media organisations and journalists. The cases involved the coverage of the Rafale defence deal as well as news reports on the sale of key telecom assets by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications to his brother Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio in December 2017.
The defendants included international news outlets like Financial Times and Bloomberg, and a wide range of Indian publications like The Economic Times, The Financial Express, The Week, The Tribune, The Wire, and news channel NDTV.
In May 2019, the group decided to withdraw Rs 5,000 crore civil defamation suits filed against Congress leaders and the National Herald for statements and an article on alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
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