“Will strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price”: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries makes desperate plea before Punjab and Haryana High Court after SEBI’s Rs 40 crore penalty

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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has desperately approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court after protesting farmers vandalised Jio towers in Punjab. In a detailed statement, Reliance said that it had the utmost respect for India’s farming community, adding that the company had no plans to enter corporate farming. The extraordinary statement by Reliance came days after the SEBI imposed a hefty penalty of Rs. 40 crore for manipulating Reliance Petroleum shares in the past.

Reliance said in its statement, “Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), in a petition mentioned to be filed in the Honourable Punjab and Haryana High Court today, has sought the urgent intervention of Government authorities to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants. These acts of violence have endangered the lives of thousands of its employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure, sales and service outlets run by its subsidiaries in the two states.”

Angry farmers, protesting against the three Farm Laws passed by the Centre’s Narendra Modi government, have vandalised more than 1500 mobile towers operated by Reliance Jio in the last few days. This was after they gave the call to boycott Reliance Jio as they’ve accused the government of passing the controversial agriculture laws to help its corporate friends such as Ambani and Adani.

Reliance said that ‘miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and our business rivals.’ “Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), or any other affiliateof our parent company, i.e., Reliance Industries Limited have not done any “corporate” or “contract” farming in the past, and have absolutely no plans to enter this business,” the company said.

The Mukesh Ambani-run company also clarified that ‘neither Reliance nor any of our subsidiaries has purchased any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or “contract” farming. We have absolutely no plans to do so.’

Last week, the SEBI imposed a financial penalty of Rs. 40 crore on Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Industries for manipulating shares of Reliance Petroleum in the past.

Read the remainder of Reliance statement in full.

Reliance Retail is an unmatched leader in organised retail business in India. It retails products of all categories including food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables, items of
daily use, apparels, medicines, electronic products of various brands belonging to independent manufacturers and suppliers in the country. It does not purchase any food
grains directly from farmers. It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so.

We at Reliance have immense gratitude and the greatest respect for India’s kisans, who are the ‘ANNA DATA’ of 1.3 billion Indians. Reliance and its affiliates are committed to doing everything to enrich and empower them. As customers of their services, we believe
in building a strong and equal partnership with Indian farmers on the basis of shared prosperity, inclusive development and an equitable New India.

Therefore, Reliance and its affiliates fully share and support the aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary hard work, innovation and dedication. Reliance seeks significant augmentation
of their incomes on a sustainable basis, and pledges to work towards this goal. Indeed, we shall insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, and/or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government.

Far from hurting the interests of Indian farmers, the businesses of Reliance have actually benefited them and the Indian public at large, as is obvious from the following facts.

1. Reliance Retail has built India’s largest organized retail business by investing in economies of scale and creating world-class technology-enabled supply chains, which has brought significant gains to both Indian farmers and consumers.

2. Jio’s fully 4G network has provided world-class data connectivity to every single village in India at the most affordable rates anywhere in the world, thus bringing the benefits of the Digital Revolution to crores of Indian farmers. In just four short years, Jio has become India’s largest digital service provider, with 40 crore loyal customers. As of 31st October 2020, Jio has more than 140 lakh subscribers in Punjab (approximately 36% subscribers in the state) and 94 lakh in Haryana (approximately 34 % subscribers in the state). Unlike the vested interests, Jio has not resorted to any coercive or unlawful measures to win over customers.

3. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Jio’s network has become a lifeline for millions of farmers and others in rural and urban India. It has helped kisans, traders and consumers to participate in digital commerce. It has enabled professionals to work from home, and students to learn from home. It has aided teachers, doctors, patients, courts, various government and private offices, industries and charitable establishments. It has served people working to provide emergency, critical and life-saving services.

Reliance wishes to sincerely thank the authorities, especially the police, of Punjab and Haryana, for their action against miscreants so far. This has reduced the incidents of vandalism in recent days. However, our company, through its Petition in the Honourable High Court, has sought punitive and deterrent action against miscreants and vested interests, so that Reliance can run all its businesses smoothly in Punjab and Haryana once again.

We urge the public and the media to be aware of the correct facts and not be misguided by false information and narratives peddled by vested interests for their own gain and benefit.

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