Awkward. As Rahul Gandhi Attacks Anil Ambani, Kapil Sibal's Double Role
Kapil Sibal wore two hats today, defending Anil Ambani in court as a senior lawyer on the same day he attacked the industrialist on the Rafale controversy as a Congress politician.
Kapil Sibal, 70, appeared for Anil Ambani in the Supreme Court for a hearing on a contempt petition filed against the Reliance Communication (RCom) chairman by Ericsson India over unpaid dues amounting to Rs 550 crore after selling its assets to Reliance Jio.
Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi argued that no contempt of court is made out against Anil Ambani. The court asked Anil Ambani to be present in court again on Wednesday.
In 2014, Ericsson India had signed a seven-year deal to operate and manage RCom's nationwide telecom network. Ericsson India alleges that RCom had not paid dues of over 1,500 crore.
It challenged the debt-ridden firm before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
Just before the hearing, Kapil Sibal put on his Congress shoes and tweeted against the government and Anil Ambani.
It seems Airbus , French Government , Anil Ambani all knew that the PM will sign an MOU on his visit to France between 9th and 11th April , 2015 .- Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) February 12, 2019
This Government's lies exposed. pic.twitter.com/rJGNNycaRH
And as the senior lawyer stood in court, defending Anil Ambani, at the Congress office, his party boss Rahul Gandhi was railing against the industrialist.
The Congress president said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "acting as Anil Ambani's middleman" and cited an email that he said revealed the industrialist had visited Paris and met with the French Defence Minister 10 days before the PM went there and announced the 36-jet deal with France. The Congress president alleged that Anil Ambani was aware of the deal when even "the Defence Minister and Foreign Secretary didn't know".
Holding up a copy of the email of an official of Airbus, Rahul Gandhi said: "Anil Ambani, who met the French Defence Minister, mentioned an MoU he is looking forward to sign after the Indian prime minister's visit to France. Mr Ambani says he is first looking to make commercial helicopters. This is a breach of the Official Secrets Act. The PM is the only other person who knows about this. In fact, Anil Ambani opened his company after this meeting. The PM is acting as Anil Ambani's middleman, it is in black-and-white for anyone who reads the email."
Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence has said "facts are being deliberately twisted and reality being ignored" and that the visit had nothing to do with Rafale.
The Congress alleges that the government went for an overpriced deal for Rafale jets to benefit Anil Ambani, whose Reliance Defence is one of the offset partners for Rafale maker Dassault. Both Dassault and Anil Ambani have denied the Congress allegations.
In 2017, Kapil Sibal's double role was similarly awkward for his party. He had represented the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in the triple talaq case in the Supreme Court.
Before that, he had defended the Trinamool Congress in the Saradha scam when Rahul Gandhi was attacking Mamata Banerjee for corruption.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal