NCLT sets aside Mistry plea to shift case to Delhi bench


Team Udayavani, Oct 6, 2017, 2:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The National Company Law Tribunal today dismissed the plea of ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry seeking transfer of his case challenging the ouster to the New Delhi bench from Mumbai. 

The principal bench of the NCLT headed by Chairman Justice M M Kumar also imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on Mistry’s two investment firms, which would be shared by both. The two companies — Cyrus Investments Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investments Corporation Pvt Ltd — had held that the Mumbai bench could have a cause of bias.

Last month, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had granted Mistry waiver in the minimum shareholding rule for him to file a case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders after observing “exceptional” and “compelling circumstances” in the entire episode. The Mistry family owns 18.4 per cent stake in the closely-held Tata Sons.

The holding is less than 3 per cent if preferential shares are excluded, not meeting the criteria of at least 10 per cent ownership in a company for the filing of a case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders. It had directed the NCLT, which had previously dismissed Mistry’s petition against Tata Sons on the ground of not meeting the minimum shareholding criteria, to decide the case in three months.

Mistry has been locked in a legal battle with the Tatas since his unceremonious exit as chairman of Tata Sons — the promoter company of the INR 6,722.34-billion salt-to-software Tata group — in October last year. Mistry was ousted as Tata Sons chairman on October 24, 2016, and was also removed as a director on the board of the holding company on February 6, 2017.

Cyrus Investments Pvt and Sterling Investments Corporation Pvt had moved the NCLT against Tata Sons after Mistry’s ouster last year alleging oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement. However, on April 17, the Mumbai bench of the NCLT had rejected the waiver plea filed by the investment firms while on March 6, it had set aside the one over maintainability.

Following that, both the investment firms had moved the appellate tribunal. The NCLAT, however, dismissed another petition filed by the Mistry family’s investment firms on maintainability, saying the firms do not have more than 10 per cent in Tata Sons.

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