Tata Sons has slapped a legal notice on ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry’s aide Nirmalya Kumar for alleged violation of confidentiality agreement and sought an unconditional apology for making “disparaging” remarks against the group and divulging information. Kumar, a visiting Professor of Marketing at London Business School who was member of the now disbanded Group Executive Council under Mistry, took to Twitter to react to the legal notice.
“Legal counsel #Tata to me: stop divulging ‘Tata Group’s future strategy’. Thought no strategy n (and) roadmap was reason #CyrusMistry was fired!” he said. Tata Sons in the legal notice asked Kumar to “issue an unconditional apology to the company, withdraw your disparaging remarks about the Tata Group from the social media and forthwith cease and desist from making any further public statements or disclosing any information in breach of your obligations you have explicitly undertaken.” It warned of initiating legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, if he fails to apologise and desist from disclosing confidential information.
“In interviews say Tata group is grt (great) – can’t throw basket out 4 few bad apples. How is it disparaging? Lakh crore marketcap loss #TataSons …,” Kumar, who claims he was asked to leave the Group soon after Mistry was abruptly removed as chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, said in another tweet.
— Nirmalya Kumar (@ProfKumar) November 26, 2016
Citing interviews and statements he had given recently, Tatas in the notice said he had signed an undertakings after resigning from the Group last month that he would “refrain from publishing or circulating any such material that may directly or indirectly refer to the company… which constitutes disclosure of confidential or proprietary information.”
Also, he had agreed and undertaken to no disparage either by himself or through any other person in respect of any matter pertaining to Tata Sons and/or its group companies as well as their directors and employees, the notice said. In addition to these undertaking, he had also given a Confidentiality Undertaking at the time of joining services in June 2013.
“Your media interviews and other statements in the press attributed to you, which you haven’t denied, amount to a contumacious breach of your obligations, both contractual and otherwise,” the notice said. Tata Sons said Kumar had access to information like Tata Group’s future strategy, which had had chosen to divulge and discuss in the public domain.
“You have used the information, entrusted to you in confidence, not only unauthorisedly but for the purpose and with the clear intention to cause detriment to the company and Tata Group,” the notice said adding the issues disclosed by Kumar publicly had inherent confidentiality obligation. Tata Sons also took strong objections to his “disparaging” remarks about the group and said it reserves right to claim damages for the same.