The Bombay High Court on Monday quashed proceedings against former Tata Sons Chairperson Ratan Tata, its current chairperson N Chandrasekharan and eight directors of the firm in a criminal defamation case filed by Nusli Wadia, PTI reported.
A magistrate’s court in Mumbai had in December 2018 issued notices to Tata and the others in the criminal defamation case. Wadia had filed the case in 2016 after he was voted out of the boards of directors of some Tata Group firms.
Tata and the other defendants then approached the Bombay High Court against the lower court’s order. A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre on Monday quashed the proceedings.
Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Tata, told the court that Wadia had filed the case over a corporate dispute. “The case is only a fallout of a corporate dispute between Ratan Tata and Nusli Wadia, who is a strong supporter of Cyrus Mistry,” he contended. Sanghvi claimed the petitioner had filed the case without applying his mind.
Wadia had claimed that Tata made defamatory statements against him after the Tata Sons board of directors sacked Cyrus Mistry as the chairperson on October 24, 2016. Wadia was on the board as an independent director of group companies like Indian Hotels Company, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors and Tata Steel. He was subsequently voted out by shareholders.
Wadia said he had demanded an explanation but the ones provided by Tata and others were not satisfactory. Subsequently, the businessman filed a defamation case.
But Singhvi told the court on Monday that what Wadia terms as defamatory is not “defamatory per se”. “The November 2016 letters and minutes of the meeting circulated by Tata Sons to its group companies only sought for Wadia’s removal as he was acting against the company’s interest,” Singhvi said.