Tata Sons today rejected the allegations that its ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry has made against managing trustee of Tata Trusts R Venkataramanan and linking him to some wrongdoings at Air Asia India.
“We strongly reject the statement from Mistry which seeks to insinuate wrongdoings in the affairs of Air Asia India by Venkataramanan,” Tata Sons said in a statement.
It also said Air Asia India has taken definitive steps both in civil and criminal courts which have cleared the air in relation to the “mischievous allegations” made by the SP Group companies at the NCLT proceedings.
“Contrary to any allegations, Tata Sons denies any conduct which could be said to be oppressive or resulting in mismanagement. We are of the view that these frivolous allegations levelled by Mistry and the SP Group are value-destructive,” the statement added.
Stating that Mistry’s allegations and actions since his ouster has been hurting the group, the statement said, “it is ironical that Mistry continues to make statements that his actions are in the interest of the Tata Group. On the contrary, his actions thus far have consistently harmed the reputation of the Tata Group.”
“Tata Sons continues to evaluate its legal options in this regard as we have the highest respect for the judiciary and has never resorted to muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings as alleged by Mistry.”
After being summoned by a local court to appear before it on August 24 in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Venkataramanan yesterday, Mistry had accused the Tatas of subverting the legal system and warned that they could not muzzle him in with defamation suits.
“The attempt to initiate criminal prosecution for alleged defamation is an ill-advised and immature proxy battle through Venkataraman whose role in Air Asia India is a subject matter of several investigations by law enforcement agencies.
“The move by the Tata trustees to attempt to muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings will be effectively and appropriately dealt with. We believe in the legal system and know such subversion of justice systems will meet its fate,” Mistry had said afer Venkataramanan’s Rs 500 crore defamation complaint was accepted by a local court here yesterday.
The Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court yesterday took cognisance of the Rs 500-crore defamation complaint filed by Venkatramanan against Mistry and others, and had directed them to appear before it on August 24.
After he was ousted as chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, 2016, Mistry, in an e-mail, had alleged that fraudulent transactions worth Rs 22 crore had taken place at the group’s aviation venture and accused Venkatramanan of having tried to cover it up. The issue, however, is now being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
On April 17, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had dismissed a petition by two firms belonging to the Mistry family, seeking waiver of an eligibility condition for moving the forum against Tata Sons. Mistry later challenged this at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
The two firms had sought to challenge Mistry’s ouster from Tata Sons and alleged that there was mismanagement and oppression of minority shareholders. They urged NCLT to use its discretion and waive an eligibility condition for filing such a petition.