Monday, 23 May, 2022
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As Rahul Gandhi attacks Anil Ambani over Rafale, Sibal appears as RComm lawyer in SC

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Congress leader Kapil Sibal represents Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communication in SC in case related to selling company assets to brother Mukesh Ambani.

New Delhi: Day after day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for favouring industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal. But his party’s senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal may have blunted the attack by representing Ambani junior in a case related to selling assets of his company Reliance Infocomm Ltd to his elder brother Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.

Anil Ambani had agreed in 2017 to sell Reliance Communication’s tower, spectrum and fibre assets to Reliance Jio to improve the company’s financial health.

Left red-faced, the Congress Tuesday maintained that Sibal was doing this in his personal capacity.

“Well, you need to divorce the lawyer from the politics. Whenever we appear in the court we don’t appear as members of the Congress party but as officers of the court,” said Manish Tewari, senior Congress leader and spokesperson of the party.

Sibal told ThePrint he had always criticised the Rafale deal and that his and the party’s stand on the issue was clear.

“I have criticised the Rafale deal myself several times and had gone to the press giving details of the deal. I am not representing Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal and I never will,” he said.

“The case you are referring to is a dispute between him and the department of telecommunications, so where is the question of double standards? I have raised questions regarding the Rafale deal and will continue to do so.”

 

However, several others in the party were not ready to buy this explanation.

“Even though it is his choice which case he wants to take in the middle of such important elections, he seems to forget that he is also the party MP. He should decide what is more important for him – law or politics? The timing is completely wrong” said a senior party leader, who didn’t wish to be identified.


Also read: This is what Rahul Gandhi seems to be obsessed with


Congress’ Rafale pitch

The Congress president has been attacking the BJP-led Central government over the Rafale deal and had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “corrupt man” too.

Gandhi had alleged that while the PM had promised to be a “gatekeeper for the country”, he only turned out to be a “gatekeeper for Anil Ambani”.

He had also termed the Rafale deal as “an open and shut case” and “a partnership between Modi and Anil Ambani. The Congress has also been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee to look into the deal.

The case in SC

The Supreme Court Tuesday admitted the Centre’s plea to reiterate a demand of ₹2,940 crore in bank guarantees from Reliance Communication towards its payment liabilities before it cleared Anil Ambani’s proposed deal with his brother Mukesh’s firm Reliance Jio.

The Centre was challenging Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) orders dated 1 and 11 October, where the tribunal had approved Reliance Communication’s proposal of putting up its Navi Mumbai property as security in lieu of bank guarantees as demanded by the Department of Telecommunication.

Representing the Centre, additional solicitor general P.S. Narasimha said: “There is no precedent for the Centre to accept land/buildings as security towards unpaid dues… the land provides no such securitisation and cannot be monetised on demand. Undertaking not to alienate property worth ₹1,400 crore is not in compliance with trading guidelines.”

Responding to the Centre’s plea, senior advocate Sibal said the company could not put up bank guarantees since it was undergoing insolvency proceedings.

“I can’t give a bank guarantee. If this deal is not allowed to go through, a lot of entities will suffer. Banks who are secured creditors will be in jeopardy and the deal falls through,” Sibal told the court.

Yesterday, Anil Ambani’s company told the Supreme Court that its asset sale to Reliance Jio may not go through if approvals are not in place by mid-December.


Also read: Why out-of-power Indian politicians are writing more and more books


 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. This fellow should choose either of the two.Its true what PM said in one of his rallies. This fellow can pressurize for impeachment motion in judiciary

  2. We have dubious characters. It is money that is more important in life. Most.people in political life has dubious characters and fool the common man. On the front they look different but on the back they are one and combined. The aim is to fool people and get power and money.

  3. Don’t these politicians cum lawyers remind one of another profession where they too are indifferent to who ‘visit’ them?

  4. For a lawyer, fattening his bank account is more prefered than representing politics. Shri Sibal ji can not aberh, this principle of lawyers.

  5. A Lawyer’s commitment is to the FEES that he will receive. It does not matter to him who gives it. Charles Lamb said: ” He is no Lawyer who cannot take two sides”.

    • As per 2015 report, Kapil SIbal charged 8 to 15 lakh per appearance. By now, it must definitely be in the 25 to 50 lakh range. Do you think he will give it up so easily.

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