Bombay HC stays proceedings against Tata Sons

Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, and other members of the Tata Group have moved to the Bombay High Court to quash the two year-old criminal defamation case filed by Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia in a trial court.


Abad Ponda, the advocate representing Wadia, sought more time to file their response on Monday, March 18. Ponda pleaded that the petition has four volumes and contains over 800 pages and hence, they are seeking more time to file a response. The case has been deliberately filed just before the trial court’s hearing next week.

While, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Tatas along with senior counsel P Chidambaram, Mohan Parasaran and Amit Desai, argued that most pages are actually from Wadia’s petition and hence they should not seek more time. Singhvi argued that they have served them the copy of their petition on March 8 and hence they can’t seek more time on this ground.

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Apart from Tata and N Chandrasekaran, chairman of the Tata Sons, and other board members of the group including Ajay Piramal, Ranendra Sen, Vijay Singh, Venu Srinivasan, Ralf Speth and F N Subedar, the then group Chief Operating Officer, were also named along with a few others in the defamation case. Justice Mridula Bhatkar, while allowing more time to both the parties, adjourned the matter to March 27. The Bombay High Court had also directed the trial court not to proceed further and also observed that the court will not grant a further adjournment to either of the parties in the case.

Notably, Wadia had filed a criminal complaint against Tata and the board of directors of the Tata group holding company, Tata Sons, for allegedly defaming him. In the defamation suit, the Bombay Dyeing chairman stated that the Tata group defamed him by saying that he was acting against the interests of the group. Wadia was deposed from the Tata group companies and he claimed that Tata and others had made defamatory statements against him after they removed Cyrus Mistry as the group chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, 2016.

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