Tata Sons today said it is continuing to evaluate legal options against ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry for actions that have “consistently harmed the reputation of the Tata group”. The promoter of the major operating Tata companies also refuted Mistry’s allegations of wrongdoing in the affairs of Air Asia India by R Venkataramanan, a trustee of Tata Trusts. Responding to Mistry’s allegations of the company attempting to “muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings”, Tata Sons said it has “never resorted” to such tactics. “It is ironical that Mr Cyrus P 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,” Tata Sons said in a statement. Tata Sons said it strongly rejected statement from Mistry “which seeks to insinuate wrongdoing” in the affairs of Air Asia India by Venkataramanan. Tata Sons said: “On the contrary, Air Asia India with the support of Tata Sons has taken definitive steps both in civil and criminal courts which have cleared the air in relation to the mischievous allegations made by SP Group companies in the NCLT proceedings.”
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When contacted, Mistry’s office did not offer comments. Yesterday, the Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Mumbai took cognisance of a Rs 500-crore defamation complaint filed by Venkatramanan against Mistry and others, and directed them to appear before it on August 24. Office of Cyrus Mistry had also issued a statement stating “subversion of courts will fail” and he “won’t be muzzled” by the defamation case filed by Venkataramanan. “The attempt to initiate criminal prosecution for alleged defamation is an ill-advised and immature proxy battle through Mr Venkataraman whose role in Air Asia is subject matter of several investigations by law enforcement agencies,” the statement had said. It further said the move by the Tata Trustees to attempt to muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings faced by them, now before the NCLAT will be effectively and appropriately dealt with.
“The petitioners in the NCLAT proceedings and Mr Mistry will continue to do the right thing by the Tata Group and protect it from oppressive conduct and mismanagement,” it added. Tata Sons, however, said contrary to any allegations, it “denies any conduct which could be said to be oppressive or resulting in mismanagement. Tata Sons is of the view that the frivolous allegations levied by Mr Cyrus P Mistry and the SP Group are value destructive”. Last year, after being ousted from Tata Sons, Mistry had written a mail to board members of the company raising “ethical concerns” in Tata group’s aviation joint venture with AirAsia. He had alleged that forensic investigation revealed fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore.Mistry had also alleged that “executive trustee Mr Venkataraman, who is on the board of AirAsia and also a shareholder in the company, considered these transactions as non-material and did not encourage further study”.