Reliance Power sues Statesman for Rs 1000 crore

BY hoot| IN Media Freedom | 30/10/2007
A series in the run up to Reliance Power’s IPO has attracted a defamation suit. The Bombay High Court declined to order restraint on further publication and the series continues to run.
THE HOOT reports.

Reliance Power Limited has filed a civil suit against The Statesman of Calcutta  for its series on RPL¿s IPO, seeking damages of Rs 1000 crore. The plaint for civil defamation came after the publication of three page one articles on October 24, 25 and 26.   The stories were titled "An IPO for Mr Anil Ambani" ,  "SEBI Guidelines and Mr Ambani" and  "What Mr Ambani did not tell High Court". They carried alongside the company¿s responses to the issues raised.   


The paper had sought  responses from RPL before the series began, and the company had responded to its questions on October 23rd. On the 24th morning the series began to run. On the 26th  morning the paper¿s Bombay office received the notice from Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe, acting for RPL. Pending the disposal of the suit, the plaintiffs asked that the paper be directed  to publish an apology on the front page of the newspaper and also on their website and to withdraw  immediately  the three articles that had been published until then.


The Court heard the matter the same day with counsels for both sides arguing for and against restraint on the series. The judge, Justice AM Khanwilkar, asked both sides to prepare consent terms and file them in court the same day. According to these the series will continue and if the paper submits questions by 9 am the company has to respond to them by 9pm. If the questions are submitted after 9am the company can respond in 24 hours.


The paper held over the article to be published  the next day and resumed publication from the 28th morning. The matter will come up in the regular list in January 2008.  The case lodging number is  S/3180/2007.


This is not the first time a Reliance company has sued a publication for such a large sum. An earlier suit against a newspaper was for Rs 2000 crores, in the days before this business empire split. 


In the first article of the series by her Aditi Roy Ghatak set out seven questions she was going to examine. The links to the articles are as follows, and they continue to be available on the paper¿s website.


The series by Aditi Roy Ghatak and the accompanying rejoinders



October 24, 2007


An IPO for Mr Anil Ambani


A vicious campaign, says Reliance Power



October 25, 2007


Sebi guidelines and Mr Ambani



October 26, 2007


What Mr Ambani did not tell High Court


¿HC had all material facts¿ (same page)


October 28, 2007


Risks that RPL admits to


Reliance Power responds (same page)


 October 29th


  RPL, its finances, its debt


We cannot assure debt service: RPL (same page)

The series is continuing in the newspaper.


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