RIL will file a criminal complaint against a TV channel which alleged that the Ambani brothers had a role to play in the accidental death of the former AP chief minister. The AP incident has once again raised questions about the credibility and responsibility of the media.
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has said that it will file a criminal complaint against TV5 channel and has also asked the Union and Andhra Pradesh (AP) governments to initiate an immediate investigation into the incident.
On Thursday, a number of RIL outlets were ransacked following a news report on local channel TV5 which alleged that the Ambani brothers had a role in the accidental death of AP chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy that shook the nation last year.
According to a PTI report, the AP police have already begun a probe and are collecting evidence, including video tapes of the news footage beamed by TV5 that alleged that the Ambani brothers were behind the helicopter crash in which Mr Reddy was killed on 2 September 2009.
In a release, RIL said, “We are shocked and outraged at the false, malicious, motivated and libellous news on TV5 channel concerning the fatal mishap of Shri YS Rajasekhara Reddy's helicopter. We condemn, rebut and reject the allegation with the contempt it deserves. It is the dirty handiwork of our business rivals in cahoots with TV5."
Speaking about the attacks on its outlets, a spokesperson of RIL said, “This (the dirty handiwork of its business rivals) is also evident from the well-coordinated attacks on RIL's personnel and establishments in Andhra Pradesh within minutes of the telecast by TV5. The channel has thrown all journalistic norms to the winds to malign the reputation of RIL, which has made significant investments in Andhra Pradesh to promote the development of the state and the nation."
According to a PTI report, the Anil Ambani-led Reliance group said: "A malicious and criminal disinformation campaign has been engaged into by our corporate rivals leading to substantial loss and damage to our several offices and businesses of Reliance ADA Group in Andhra Pradesh yesterday evening. We are shocked to see our corporate rivals stooping down to new levels of desperation by engaging in such imaginative and baseless rumour-mongering."
Telugu channel TV5 first produced a report based on an unsubstantiated news report published by a little-known website exiledonline.com. Following this, a couple of other Telugu news channels also started airing the same news.
The website in question, exiledonline.com (and especially an author named Mark Ames) has been writing about Lawrence (Larry) Summers, the director of the US National Economic Council since the past few years. Before joining the Obama administration, Mr Summers was working on the international advisory board of RIL.
The writer, Mr Ames, took a dig at Reliance. One of Mr Ames' articles called Mukesh Ambani as "Larry Summers's Ex-Boss, a Billionaire with a Blood Feud". While targeting Mr Summers, the writer Mark Ames and the little-known website had been attacking the Ambani family for their wealth.
In one of his articles, Mr Ames wrote: "Mukesh has what Larry wants—money and power; and Larry has what Mukesh wants—the connections in the world’s most powerful economy to 'gain a leg up on his rivals'. And if you think that Larry isn’t the kinda guy who’d befriend sleazy Third World oligarchs involved in jaw-dropping murder mysteries, then folks, you better stick around for more of this series. After all, Summers is the guy who once described the architect of the Russian privatisation scam as 'my dear friend'.”
The site exiledonline.com has since become inaccessible and its home page is giving a message "Error establishing a database connection".