… or maybe it’s still just business. This is perhaps the only recorded instance of a defamation lawsuit between 2 of the world’s top 5 most richest men. [Rediff] (tip Sidhu via email)
In another twist to the feud between the Ambani brothers, the younger sibling Anil’s Group is understood to have filed a defamation suit for a whopping Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) against elder Mukesh Ambani for remarks purported to have been made by him in an interview with the New York Times several weeks ago.
Rs. 100 billion roughly translates to $2.2-$2.5 billion making this perhaps one of the most expensive defamation lawsuits at least in India, if not worldwide. So what did Mukesh say that wrought upon himself this expensive mess?
In the concluding page of this article, NYT was discussing Mukesh’s need to exert some “extra-curricular” influence over his employees, colleagues, competitors, the bureaucrats and anyone else vital to his business interests. Part of his technique involves an “intelligence agency”.
What most distinguishes Reliance from its rivals is what Mr. Ambani’s 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.
In the NYT interview, Mukesh linked his estranged brother to this “intelligence agency”.
Mr. Ambani 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-merged all of that,” he says, breaking out in a belly laugh. A spokesman for Anil Ambani declined to comment.
On a lighter note, if Mukesh did end up losing this case for $2 billion, all he would have to do is sell his proposed home for the same amount.
Is this valid grounds for a defamation lawsuit of Rs 100 billion or is Anil just over-reacting? What do you think of this entire feud between the two brothers?