|THE AMBANIS ….Picture credit … BBC News…|
NEW DELHI: Who is corporate’s best friend? As the Congress accused PM Modi of being Ambanis’ Man, the Reliance group came out with a statement Sunday, pointing out that under the Congress-led UPA period, it had got contracts worth Rs one lakh crore.
While the Congress allegation, repeated on a daily basis, was meant essentially to spice up the campaign scene, a comment made by Rahul Gandhi to Indian Express took matters to a head. Said Rahul Gandhi: “People like Anil Ambani are crony capitalists. I don’t put Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya in the honest bracket.”
The paper quoted the Reliance group as responding, “The Congress president is engaging in a calumny, disinformation, distortion and malicious lies,” and added that the group had got over Rs 1 lakh crore of contracts from the Congress-led UPA governments of Manmohan Singh, too.
The report quoted the Reliance group as saying, “During the 10-year Congress-led UPA regime between 2004 and 2014, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group was awarded projects of over Rs 1 lakh crore across diverse infrastructure sectors such as power, telecom, roads, metro, by a government-led by the Congress party.”
Notably, some years ago, the infamous Nira Radia tapes, leaked to the media, had a quote from Mukesh Ambani, saying “Congress party hamara dookan hai,” meaning Reliance could purchase any decision from the Congress leadership. The quote came during the UPA II period and created a big sensation.
Currently, the Congress party is trying to turn the tables on PM Modi over the Rafale fighter jet deal the NDA government signed with France, in which the Anil Ambani group was listed as the local agent for the aviation company. In the past, under the UPA, commissions had allegedly gone to foreigners, or to the Congress leadership through the arms of foreign entities. Commission clause is part of very international arms deal. –IHN-NN