New Delhi: Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) and Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Group, have served a legal notice on the authors of the book Gas Wars—Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis for alleged defamation.
This is the second such notice served on authors Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Subir Ghosh and Jyotirmoy Chaudhari, who received the first last week from Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its chairman Mukesh Ambani, the elder brother of Anil Ambani.
The 570-page book, which was released on 15 April, deals with suspected irregularities in the pricing of natural gas. The once-estranged brothers were involved in a dispute over the price of the gas extracted and supplied by RIL to RNRL.
The notice on behalf of RNRL and Anil Ambani has been served by the law firm Mulla & Mulla and Cragie Blunt & Caroe. It was also served on the printer Saurabh Printers Pvt Ltd.
The notice said that the website created to promote the book and the book itself “reveals a conspiracy and organized design to malign and cause damage to our client’s good name and reputation." It said that the “website and the book read as a whole are ...defamatory and contains material which are false, distorted and malicious."
The notice, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint, said the title of the book was defamatory too.
It called for the removal of the website promoting the book and an immediate halt to its sale, publication, distribution and circulation in any manner. Just like the notice from RIL, the notice demanded an “unconditional public apology" for its clients. Failing compliance with the demands, it threatened civil andor criminal proceedings against the people mentioned in the notice.
RIL had sent its notice also to the book’s distributor Feel Books Pvt Ltd as well as the e-commerce websites Flipkart and Amazon that were selling the book.
In response to the latest notice served by RNRL and Anil Ambani, Thakurta and his co-authors said in a joint statement that the book had been “more than fair" to RNRL and Anil Ambani “by quoting and providing their version of events, circumstances and controversies in considerable length and depth."
They said that nothing written in the book can be construed as being defamatory to any individual or corporate entity.
“All the information and views in the book are based on extensive research and obtained from various official documents and opinions of individuals that are available in the public domain, including media reports etc," the statement said.
“The notice is being reviewed by our legal experts and an appropriate response will be provided," the statement added.
An RNRL spokesperson declined to comment.
Reliance Power Ltd, a part of the Reliance Group, has sued HT Media Ltd, publisher of Mint, in the Bombay high court over a 12 May 2010 front-page story in Mint that it disputed. HT Media is contesting the case