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Indian tribunal dismisses ex-chairman Mistry's plea against Tata Sons

[MUMBAI] An Indian tribunal has dismissed a petition by former Tata Sons' chairman Cyrus Mistry that alleged mismanagement and discrimination against minority shareholders at the Tata group holding company, Tata Sons said on Monday, adding it welcomed the order.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), a quasi-judicial body, also refused to grant a waiver to Mistry's family-owned companies on the minimum shareholding needed to go ahead with the petition.

Tata Sons, the holding company in a business empire ranging from car maker Jaguar Land Rover and steel mills to aviation and salt pans, forced Mistry from the chairmanship last October, and has since been embroiled in a public spat with him.

Mistry was also voted off the company's board in February.

Mistry had accused former Tata chairman Ratan Tata and his associates in Tata Trusts of interfering in the running of the various Tata group companies, launching legal proceedings in December. "We are pleased that Mr. Mistry's claims have been dismissed by the NCLT. The order of the NCLT represents a vindication of our position," F.N. Subedar, Chief Operating Officer of Tata Sons, said in a statement after Monday's verdict.

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A spokesman for Mistry declined immediate comment.

The Mint newspaper said Mistry's side would appeal the order at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), without citing a source for the information.

Although Mistry's family firms own 18.4 per cent of the ordinary shares in Tata Sons, that stake falls to about 2.17 per cent when preference shares are taken into account, according to several local media reports.

Indian law requires Mistry's firms to own a minimum of 10 per cent of the issued share capital of Tata Sons to be able to file a petition alleging mismanagement and discrimination against minority shareholders.


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