Industrialist Nusli Wadi has issued a defamation notice against Tata Sons over the conglomerate’s allegations during his removal as independent director from companies under the group’s ambit, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday. Wadia’s suit has reportedly termed the accusations as “false, defamatory and libelous with the intention of harming [his] reputation.” Wadia has asked the group to either withdraw its “defamatory special notice” or prove the accusations within two days of receipt of the letter.
Wadia’s letter said, “If you fail to withdraw the special notice within two days, then I shall be at liberty to initiate proceedings, both criminal and civil.” The Wadia group chairperson challenged the the board to share evidence that he acted “in concert” with ousted Tata group chairperson Cyrus Mistry. Wadia asked the group to specify what the Tata Group comprised as he was an “independent director of Tata Steel.” He accused the group of holding “personal vendetta” against him. Tata Sons issued a statement saying it will “respond appropriately”.
Wadia has accused the board of violating the Companies’ Act, SEBI guidelines and Tata code of conduct. “The special notice [issued by Tata Steel] seems to be a reaction to the fact that the independent directors refused to accept an unsigned statement tabled and read out by Bhaskar Bhat asking for the removal of the chairman, Cyrus Mistry at the meeting,” he said in his statement.
On November 12, Tata Sons had moved resolution to have both Cyrus Mistry and Nusli Wadia removed as directors of Tata Chemicals, Tata Steel and Tata Motors. Wadia, who is the chairman of Bombay Dyeing and Britannia Industries, has been an independent director of Tata Chemicals since June 1981, Tata Steel since August 2005 and Tata Motors since December 1998.
The decision to remove Wadia from the boards follows the spat between the Tatas and Mistry, who was ousted as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24. The Tata Group has accused Mistry of being responsible for its dwindling revenue. In a letter to his employees, interim chairperson Ratan Tata had said the decision to sack Mistry, which has thrown the $103-billion conglomerate into turmoil, was “absolutely necessary” for the group’s success.