Mumbai: The untimely death of former Tata Sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry in a road accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar district has brought to fore his long-drawn legal feud with the Tata Group and Ratan Tata.
Following his ouster as the chairman of the Tata Sons on October 24, 2016, Mistry was embroiled in a protracted legal battle with the group’s founder Ratan Tata and other senior officials, including its managing trustee N Venkatramanan.
Mistry was the chairman of Tata Sons from 2012 to 2016.
When Mistry was removed from the post, Ratan Tata was named interim chairman of the group.
In December 2016, Mistry and two of his family-run firms, namely Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt Ltd moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Mumbai challenging his removal.
The firms had alleged oppression of minority stakeholders and mismanagement by the Tatas.
Amidst the NCLT hearing, in January 2017, Tata Sons appointed Natarajan Chandrasekaran as chairman of Tata Sons.
On July 9, 2018, a special bench of NCLT dismissed the petitions filed by Mistry and the two firms and held the board of directors at Tata Sons was competent to remove the executive chairperson of the company.
The NCLT had also held that Mistry was ousted because the Tata Sons Board and its majority shareholders had “lost confidence in him”, particularly after he admittedly sent out crucial information related to the Tata firms to the Income Tax department, leaked information to the press, and after he came out in public against the company and its board members.
Mistry appealed against this order before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in Delhi, which, in December 2019, ordered in his favour. It held his removal was illegal and that he should be restored to that position.
The NCLAT had, however, given the Tata group four weeks to appeal before the Supreme Court.
In January 2020, Tata Sons approached the Supreme Court challenging the NCLAT order. The same month, the SC granted an interim stay on the NCLAT order.
In December 2020, the final hearing in the appeal commenced and in March 2021, the apex court set aside the NCLAT order.
Mistry then filed a review petition in the SC, which was dismissed in May this year. With this, the six-year legal battle between Mistry and the Tata group came to an end.