Tata-Mistry tangle: 140 cases filed in multiple courts

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018

Charges and counters Tata Sons interim Chairman Ratan Tata and his ousted predecessor Cyrus Mistry in a file photo

Legal eagles including P Chidambaram, Ravi Kadam pad up for long-drawn battle

The Tata-Mistry boardroom battle is a noodle soup of legal suits, with a whopping 140 cases, caveats and injunctions filed in various courts in Mumbai and New Delhi.

The cases have been filed in the Bombay High Court, city civil courts, Delhi High Court and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), both in Delhi and Mumbai.

The cases in the Bombay High Court include a representative suit and two defamation suits — a criminal one, and a civil one of ₹3,000 crore — filed by Tata Sons’ independent director Nusli Wadia.

Of the 140 cases, nearly 80 have been filed on behalf of Tata Sons and Tata Group, and the remaining for Wadia and Cyrus Mistry, sources told BusinessLine.

Meanwhile, legal eagles have started padding up to take sides in the long-drawn battle. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram led the legal team for Tatas at the December 16 hearing in the Bombay High Court. The Tata Group has also engaged former Advocate General (Maharashtra) Ravi Kadam and Senior Counsel Aspi Chinoy.

The Mistry camp has lined up Bombay High Court advocate Janak Dwarkadas, lawyer Somasekhar Sundaresan and law firm Desai & Diwanji. Wadia is represented by senior advocate Abad Ponda in the criminal defamation suit.

“The Tatas being a big group, it is necessary to file multiple suits to protect their interests. A number of cases and caveats were filed on behalf of each listed company and certain unlisted entities, while a representative suit was filed by minority shareholders,” said one of the sources who declined to be identified.

The $103-billion Tata Group comprises over 100 companies spread across six continents and has presence in sectors ranging from salt to steel and software.

Mistry was ousted as Tata Sons’ chairman on October 24. The filing of legal cases started the next day, with the Tata Group filing a caveat with the NCLT. In the event of a legal suit, a caveat is to ensure courts do not issue any ex-parte orders. Responding to a query, a Tata Group spokesperson said Tata Sons, its directors, Tata Trusts and certain trustees have filed caveats in Mumbai and Delhi courts and with the NCLT.

Not unusual

“We understand that other Tata Group companies, based on legal advice, have also filed appropriate caveats. It is not unusual to have caveats filed when threatened with legal action,” the spokesperson said, adding that the so-called representative suit lacks “bona fides and is a motivated proxy litigation.”

Published on December 25, 2016

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