(Fixes spelling of Nusli in first paragraph and Ratan in
MUMBAI Dec 23 Nusli Wadia, a former independent
director on the boards of Tata Motors Ltd and Tata
Steel Ltd, has filed a defamation case against holding
company Tata Sons and 11 of its board members and executives.
Wadia said Tata Sons and the individuals cited, including
patriarch Ratan Tata, had defamed him "by printing, publishing
and circulating per se false, frivolous, baseless, incorrect,
libellous and defamatory material concerning the Complainant."
The former director added the actions had tarnished his
reputation and "caused distress, hurt and humiliation, as well
as pecuniary loss, social disadvantages, injury to feelings,
mental pain and suffering to the Complainant."
Wadia said he would pursue criminal charges of defamation,
as well as abatement and "criminal action with common intention"
violations that could be punishable by imprisonment for up to
two years, or a fine, or both.
Tata Sons declined to comment saying it was yet to see the
petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. The individuals
named were not immediately reachable.
Wadia had been expected to take legal action after he was
ousted from the boards of Tata Motors and Tata Steel this week.
He is expected to be ousted from Tata Chemicals Ltd
later on Friday.
The outspoken director has roiled boards of the $100 billion
salt-to-software conglomerate by publicly backing Tata Sons'
former chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted in November,
sparking an acrimonious battle.
Mistry has accused Tata Sons of mismanagement and corporate
governance failures, allegations which Tata Sons has refuted.
Mistry resigned from the boards of Tata Group companies
earlier this week and filed a petition with the National Company
Law Tribunal to either replace Tata Sons' current board, or
appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as non-executive chairman.
At an extraordinary general meeting of Tata Chemicals'
shareholders on Friday evening, Ratan Tata thanked them for
their "overwhelming" support.
"The group has been there for a 150 years. It has been based
on governance and fair play," Tata said. "I think the truth will
prevail whatever the process may be, however painful it may be."
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Rafael Nam and Mark