A magistrate court in Mumbai on Tuesday directed ousted Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry and four others to appear before it on August 24 in connection with a Rs 500-crore criminal defamation complaint filed by the managing trustee of Tata Trusts, R Venkatramanan, PTI reported.
After Mistry was ousted from the company in October 2016, he had sent an email to Tata Sons directors and Tata Trusts directors alleging that Venkatramanan had tried to cover up fraudulent transactions worth Rs 22 crore at AirAsia India. In his complaint, Venkatramanan said these allegations made by Mistry were false, defamatory and damaged his reputation.
Besides Cyrus Mistry, his brother Shapoor Mistry and the directors of their companies – Cyrus Investments Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investments Pvt Ltd – have been named accused in the complaint.
Venkatramanan’s counsel said Mistry had made these allegations only because he was dismissed from Tata Group, IANS reported. “Why was he otherwise silent for his entire tenure, not to speak about several of his own wrongdoings against which Tata Sons may have its own cause of action,” Venkataramanan’s lawyer, Parvez Memon, said.
In a statement, Mistry’s office said the complaint was an “ill-advised and immature proxy battle” by the Tata Group through Venkatramanan. “The move by the Tata Trustees to attempt to muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings faced by them, now before the National Companies Law Appellate Tribunal, will be effectively and appropriately dealt with,” the statement further said.
Earlier, Mistry’s companies, which hold 18.5% stake in Tata Sons, had moved the National Company Law Tribunal in Mumbai accusing the conglomerate of mismanagement and oppression. The tribunal had, however, dismissed the petition saying the firms did not have sufficient shareholding to seek a legal recourse. The petition is now being heart at NCLAT, New Delhi.
On February 6, shareholders of Tata Sons had voted to remove Mistry from the post of director. Mistry had stepped down from all Tata Group companies on December 19, alleging that Ratan Tata had staged “an illegal coup” the day he was sacked from his post.
The holding company had accused Mistry of misleading the 2011 selection committee set up to appoint Ratan Tata’s successor. On January 12, Natarajan Chandrasekaran was named the new chairperson of Tata Sons.