SP Group’s criminal defamation case against Tata Trustee Venkataramanan quashed

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 28, 2019 Published on March 27, 2019

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed a criminal defamation case filed against ex-Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts, R Venkataramanan, by the Shapoorji Pallomji (SP) Group.

The SP Group had stated that Venkataramanan made defamatory statements against it after he was named as an accused in the AirAsia scam.

In mid-2018, Venkataramanan had stated that in his capacity as non-executive director of AirAsia India, he had been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where he had no role to play. “It is commonly known that the present accusations qua AirAsia India find their root in baseless allegations made by Mr Cyrus P Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against Tata Trusts Trustees (me included) and Tata Sons in his ‘revenge’ legal actions,” he had said.

An SP group statement said, "We are studying and evaluating the order passed by the honourable court. We are considering all available legal options and will be taking all appropriate legal steps to safeguard and protect our long standing goodwill and reputation built over 150 years."

Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a petition filed by Venkataramanan seeking the quashing of the process issued by the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court at Ballard Pier in the complaint filed by Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Justice Bhatkar observed that the press note issued by Venkataramanan on May 30, 2018, was per se not defamatory.

“The words...are moderate and temperate. They do not invite contempt, ridicule or hatred against the persons mentioned in the press note and much less the complainant. Certain statements, if found incorrect, can be corrected without labelling them defamatory. The words used and the statement made in the press note can not be perceived as defamatory,” the ruling said.

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Published on March 27, 2019
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