HC refuses to stay sessions court order quashing summons to Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry

In some reprieve for ousted Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, the Bombay High Court today refused to stay a sessions court order quashing a summons issued to him in a Rs 500-crore defamation suit.

Justice N W Sambre admitted for further hearing a petition filed by Tata Group’s managing trustee N Venkatramanan challenging the lower court’s order of December.

The sessions court had quashed the summons, issued against Mistry and others by a metropolitan magistrate in July 2017.

“The petition filed by Venkatramanan has been admitted and posted for hearing on June 25. The high court refused to stay the sessions court order,” Mistry’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani said.

In his petition, Venkatramanan termed the sessions court order as “arbitrary and illegal” and said it overstepped its jurisdiction while examining merits of the case.

Last year, Venkatramanan filed a criminal defamation complaint in the magistrate’s court against Mistry and others for making “false” statements and sought damages of Rs 500 crore.

An e-mail sent by Mistry to the directors and trustees of Tata Trusts contained “defamatory statements” against him, Venkatramanan said.

According to the complaint, after Mistry was ousted as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, 2016, he, in an e-mail, alleged that fraudulent transactions had taken place at the group’s aviation venture, AirAsia India, and accused Venkatramanan of having tried to cover them up.

The issue is now being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.

Venkatramanan said the e-mail, which was leaked to the media, caused irreparable damage to his reputation.

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