Anil Ambani's Reliance Group in a strongly worded statement has criticised Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for accusing the industrialist of being a "crony capitalist and dishonest businessman", and pointed out that the conglomerate received projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore when the UPA was in power for 10 years.
"Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, in his typical cavalier fashion has continued his campaign of calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies... he singled out our group chairman Anil D Ambani as allegedly a crony capitalist and dishonest businessman - all obviously patently untrue statements," Reliance Group said in the statement, according to news agency IANS.
"As is by now, customary for all of Rahul Gandhi's public statements, he has attributed no basis to these claims whatsoever, and neither has he provided any credible evidence at all to justify his derogatory and defamatory campaign."
Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly giving preferential treatment to businessmen in big-ticket deals over the interests of other sections like farmers and poor people.
At most of his political rallies, Mr Gandhi pointed at Anil Ambani as one of the biggest beneficiaries of being close to PM Modi, another reason which Mr Gandhi maintains was why his rookie military firm Reliance Defence bagged the offset contract in India's deal with France to buy the Rafale multirole jet fighters from Dassault Aviation. Whether the Supreme Court will revise its verdict that said no probe into the deal was needed is pending with the top court.
"We would like to remind Rahul Gandhi, that it was during the 10 year Congress-led UPA regime between 2004 and 2014 that Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group was awarded projects of over Rs 1,00,000 crore across diverse key nation-building infrastructure sectors such as power, telecom, roads, metro by a government led by none other than Rahul Gandhi's own political party - the Congress," the Reliance Group statement said.
"The Reliance Group takes this opportunity to request Rahul Gandhi to clarify whether his government, for 10 long years, was supporting an alleged crony capitalist and dishonest businessman, to use Mr Gandhi's own words," it said.
"We at Reliance Group have chosen to ignore Rahul Gandhi's comments with continuing patience and restraint. We likewise dismiss his latest remark as yet another one of his multiple untruthful utterances, in the heat and dust of his electoral campaign, for which he has recently been facing contempt proceedings in the highest court of the land, the Hon'ble Supreme Court," the statement said.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal