Bombay, September 4
The untimely death of former Tata Sons chairman, Cyrus Mistry, in a road accident in Palghar district, Maharashtra, has brought into sharp focus his long-running legal feud with the Tata Group and Ratan Tata.
After his ousting as chairman of the Tata Sons on October 24, 2016, Mistry was embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with the group’s founder Ratan Tata and other senior officials, including its managing director N Venkatramanan.
Mistry served as Chairman of Tata Sons from 2012 to 2016.
When Mistry was removed from office, Ratan Tata was appointed as the group’s interim chairman.
In December 2016, Mistry and two of his family businesses namely Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt Ltd moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to Mumbai to challenge his deportation.
The companies had alleged oppression of minority stakeholders and mismanagement by the Tatas.
At the NCLT hearing, in January 2017, Tata Sons nominated Natarajan Chandrasekaran as Chairman of Tata Sons.
On July 9, 2018, a special NCLT bench denied motions filed by Mistry and the two companies and ruled that the Tata Sons board had jurisdiction to remove the company’s executive chairman.
The NCLT had also ruled that Mistry was ousted because Tata Sons’ board and majority shareholders had ‘lost faith in him’, particularly after he admitted sending crucial information regarding Tata businesses to the income tax department, leaked information to the press. , and after he spoke out in public against the company and its board members.
Mistry appealed this order to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in Delhi, which in December 2019 issued a ruling in its favour. He felt that his dismissal was unlawful and that he should be reinstated in that position.
The NCLAT, however, had given the Tata group four weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In January 2020, Tata Sons approached the Supreme Court to challenge the NCLAT order. That same month, the SC granted an interim stay of the NCLAT order.
In December 2020, the final appeal hearing began and in March 2021, the Supreme Court overturned the NCLAT order.
Mistry then filed a petition for review with the SC, which was denied in May of this year. With that, the six-year legal battle between Mistry and the Tata Group came to an end.