Former Tata Sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry was on Sunday killed in an accident after his car rammed into a road divider in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, located about 100 kilometres from Mumbai, PTI reported.

The accident took place on a bridge on the Surya river around 3.15 pm, when the 54-year-old was travelling from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in a Mercedes car.

According to the police, there were four people in the vehicle, of which two, including Mistry, died on the spot. The other deceased person was identified as Jahangir Pandole, The Indian Express reported. Their bodies have been sent to the Kasa Rural Hospital for postmortem examination.

Those injured were identified as Dr Anahita Pandole and her husband Darius Pandole, the managing director and chief executive officer of JM Financial Private Equity. Anahita Pandole is a gynaecologist at the Breach Candy hospital and has been in the news for filing public interest litigations against illegal hoardings.

Both of them have been shifted to a private hospital in Gujarat’s Vapi for treatment, according to PTI.

“Prima facie, it appears to be a case of overspeeding and she [Anahita Pandole] lost control over the wheel,” Palghar Superintendent of Police Balasaheb Patil said. “We are investigating the matter.”

Condolences pour in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Mistry’s death is a big loss to the world of commerce and industry.

“The untimely demise of Shri Cyrus Mistry is shocking,” Modi said. “He was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess. His passing away condolences to his family and friends.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said he was shocked to hear about Mistry’s death.

“He was not only a successful entrepreneur but also was seen in the industry as a young, bright and visionary personality,” Shinde added. “It’s a great loss...My heartfelt tribute.”

Maharashtra Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked the police to conduct detailed investigation into the accident.

Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule also mourned Mistry’s death. “Devastating news my brother Cyrus Mistry passed away,” she wrote on Twitter. “Can’t believe it.”

Mistry’s long-drawn-out legal tussle

Mistry, the younger son of late industrialist Pallonji Mistry, took over the reins of salt-to-software Tata conglomerate in 2012 after Ratan Tata retired from active corporate life. However, he was removed from the post in October 2016, before being ousted from the board of Tata Sons in February 2017.

Following this, Mistry was part of a corporate battle against Tata Sons, which had spanned over four years.

He filed an appeal at the National Company Law Tribunal under Sections 241 and 244 of the Companies Act, 2013, alleging oppression of minority stakeholders and mismanagement in Tata Sons.

In July 2018, the NCLT dismissed Mistry’s petition holding that the board of directors are competent to remove the chairperson and that no selection committee is required to remove the executive chairperson. Mistry then challenged the NCLT decision at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.

On December 19, 2019, the NCLAT overturned the NCLT verdict and reinstated Mistry as the Tata Sons chairperson. It also held that the board meeting – where the decision to remove Mistry was taken – was illegal.

Tata Sons and Ratan Tata challenged the NCLAT decision in the Supreme Court in January 2020, following which the court stayed the NCLAT order. Mistry, meanwhile, filed a counter-appeal in the Supreme Court in February 2020, submitting that the NCLAT order had failed to secure Shapoorji Pallonji Group “from any prejudicial conduct in the future”.

In March 2021, the Supreme Court dismissed all appeals filed on the matter by Mistry and his minority stakeholder company Shapoorji Pallonji.

Also read:

Cyrus Mistry (1968-2022): How the outsider was chosen to lead the Tata Group when Rata Tata retired