Tata Sons asks Mistry to return confidential papers

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Mumbai, Dec 29 (IANS) Tata Sons on Thursday demanded the return of all confidential documents related to its group companies from its ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry.

Tata Sons made the demand through a notice which was served to Mistry by leading law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. This is the second such notice served to Mistry in about two days’ time.

“Our client has strong reason to believe that you are in possession of highly valuable information and documents pertaining to our client and Tata Group Companies (obtained in your capacity as the Executive Chairman of our client and as a Director prior and subsequent to your tenor of service as the Executive Chairman of the company),” the legal notice said.

“… and have disclosed such information without prior authorisation and direction from the Board of Directors of the company.”

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The notice alleged that Mistry has “wrongfully and dishonestly” taken out confidential information from the group companies without appropriate consent.

“Please note that the act of removal of confidential information from the premises of the company without consent of the company is an offence punishable by law,” the notice read.

“Our client seeks to know through a written confirmation from you that you have not made available any confidential information to Cyrus Investments Private Limited, Sterling Investment Corporation Limited, Shapoorji Pallonji Group Companies, Afcons, your family members, relatives and other affiliates,” the notice added.

Mistry’s family-controlled companies Cyrus Investment Private Limited and Sterling Investment Private Limited are petitioners against Tata Sons before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) (Mumbai).

Last Tuesday, Tata Sons had been served with a petition filed before the NCLT by Mistry’s investment companies under Sections 241 and 242 of the Companies Act.

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On December 22, Tata Sons said the NCLT has not granted any interim relief to its ousted Chairman.

On Monday, Tata Sons served the first legal notice to Mistry, alleging breach of confidentiality and passing on sensitive information to his family-controlled companies.

However, no damages were sought.

The holding company of the industrial conglomerate had filed a petition before the NCLT for alleged “breach of confidentiality obligation by a Director”.

Mistry, who still remains a Director on the board of the holding arm of the $100 billion-plus group, was asked to desist from such alleged actions.

The development comes more than a week after Mistry stepped down from the positions held by him in Tata Group companies.

Tata Sons’ board ousted Mistry on October 24 and appointed Ratan Tata as interim Chairman.

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Tata Trusts hold 66 per cent stake in the holding company of the Tata Group, whereas Mistry’s family holds over 18 per cent interest.

Later in the evening, the office of Mistry said that Tata’s letter termed a “notice” was a request not to draw the attention of courts and tribunals to documents and records on the ground that they are “confidential” in nature.

“Their letters claiming confidentiality have been widely circulated to the media is ironical. We believe such conduct is unbecoming and interferes with justice administration,” Mistry’s office said in a statement.

“For the record, the affidavit that Cyrus Mistry had to file by today has been filed in the Hon’ble National Company Law Tribunal.”



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