Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Jan. 8

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has demanded that the Central and State governments should immediately initiate investigation into the attacks on its outlets and establishments in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

An RIL spokesperson said, “We will file a criminal complaint against the TV channel. We are shocked and outraged at the false, malicious, motivated and libellous news on TV5 channel concerning the fatal mishap of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's helicopter.”

In a statement the company while rejecting the allegation said “it is the dirty handiwork of our business rivals in cahoots with TV5. This 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, it said. Meanwhile, the State police filed a case against the TV channel and took into custody scores of people who attacked the outlets and caused destruction across the State.

The Telugu Desam Chief, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, alleged that the events were well planned and the perpetrators had even sent out SMS a couple of hours ahead of the attacks. There is no semblance of any Government in the State now, he told newspersons. The TV channel had extensively quoted a Russian Web site which had carried an article on the death of Dr Rajasekhara Reddy with insinuations against the Ambanis, triggering violent attacks on Reliance outlets.

Meanwhile, a Reliance ADA Group spokesperson has in a statement said: “A malicious and criminal disinformation campaign has been engaged in 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. He said the untimely demise of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was a tragic incident. We wish to state that the progressive policies adopted under his leadership were among the key reasons for our Group making significant investments in the State."

Late in the evening the State Government handed over the investigation to the CID, which immediately swung into action by taking into custody the top editorial team of TV 5.

Several political party leaders, including from the Cong(I) condemned the incidents and questioned the media reports' veracity.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 9, 2010)
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