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Defamation proceedings against Cyrus Mistry stayed till 11 September

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-08-2017 Jayshree P Upadhyay

Mumbai: The Mumbai sessions court on Thursday granted interim relief to Cyrus Mistry in a criminal defamation case filed by R. Venkataramanan, a trustee at Tata Trusts.

Mistry, the former chairman of Tata Sons, had filed a plea with the sessions court that there were procedural lapses at the lower court. The counsel for Mistry, Aabad Ponda alleged that there were lapses in recording of statement of Venkatramanan.

The court while admitting the revision plea sought for records and proceedings from the lower court.

The matter will be heard next on 11 September.

Venkataramanan filed the defamation complaint in his personal capacity on 7 June through the law firm MZM Legal, citing allegations that Mistry made against him in an email he wrote to Tata Sons directors and Tata Trusts trustees on 25 October. The allegations pertained to some transactions at AirAsia India, Tata Sons’ joint venture with AirAsia Bhd.

On 4 July, Mumbai magistrate’s court admitted the Rs500 crore criminal defamation suit. The court also said that Mistry would need to face trial and make a personal appearance 24 August.

Zulfiqar Memon, counsel for Venkatramanan and founder of the boutique law firm MZM Legal said that a revision plea is the right available in such cases.

“The stay on defamation proceedings, is more procedural,” said Memon.

Ponda also argued that Venkatramanan had deliberately suppressed the fact that the National Company Appellate Law Tribunal (NCLAT) had by way of its order dated 4 May 2017, admitted the appeal filed by the minority shareholders of Tata Sons Ltd in their petition alleging oppression and mismanagement at Tata Sons, and that the matter was hence sub-judice.

Following his removal as the chairman of Tata Sons on 24 October, Mistry and his family firms challenged his ouster at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

On 17 April, NCLT dismissed the main petition filed by Mistry and his family firms alleging mismanagement and oppression of minority shareholders. The two-member bench also refused to grant him a waiver from the minimum shareholding requirement for filing such a petition.

Subsequently, the Mistry family firms moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against NCLT’s decision.

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