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Defamation suit: HC notice to Mistry on Tata trustee’s plea

The Bombay High Court issued notice to ousted Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry on a petition filed by Tata Trusts managing trustee R Venkatramanan challenging an order quashing summons issued to Mistry in the trustee’s Rs 500 crore defamation suit.

Venkatramanan had approached the high court earlier this month against an order passed by a sessions court on December 26 last year which quashed and set aside the summons issued against Mistry and others.

A metropolitan magistrate’s court had in July last year issued the summons directing Mistry and others to appear before it.

Justice Revati Mohite Dere issued a notice to Mistry and posted the petition for hearing after three weeks.

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

Last year, Venkatramanan had filed the criminal defamation suit before the magistrate court against Mistry and others for allegedly making “false” statements, and sought damages amounting to Rs 500 crore.

An e-mail sent by Mistry to the directors and trustees of Tata Trusts contained “defamatory statements” against him, Venkatramanan had 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 worth Rs 22 crore had taken place in the group’s aviation venture, AirAsia India, and accused Venkatramanan of having tried to cover it up.

The issue is 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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