Image: Sameer Joshi / Fotocorp
Nusli Wadia, who has been ousted as an independent director of Tata Steel and Tata Motors, filed a second suit against Tata Sons and its directors on Friday – this time a criminal case.
The 72-year-old Bombay Dyeing chairman has alleged that he has been defamed by all the accused, including Tata Sons’ interim chairman Ratan Tata by “printing, publishing and circulating per se false, frivolous, baseless, incorrect, libelous and defamatory material…which has been so published with sole intention of lowering, tainting, tarnishing the reputation and self-esteem of the complainant (Wadia) in the eyes of right thinking persons.”
Last week, Wadia had filed a civil defamation suit against the same set of people claiming Rs3,000 crore in damages.
While the contents of both the complaints are mostly the same, Wadia has named some well-known industry figures as witnesses on his behalf. They include, AM Naik, chairman of engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro; Subodh Bhargava, former chairman and MD of Eicher Motors, chairman of Tata Communications and a fellow independent director on the boards of Tata Steel and Tata Motors; and Tanya Godrej Dubash, executive director and chief brand officer of the Godrej Group and Adi Godrej’s daughter.
“By making false and baseless innuendos and allegations against the Complainant, the accused have caused distress, hurt and humiliation, as well as pecuniary loss, social disadvantages, injury to feelings, mental pain and suffering to the complainant,” Wadia’s petition said.
The complaint, filed in the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate in Mumbai, prays for the court to take cognizance of the alleged offence under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with defamation, and Section 500 read with Section 109 (abetment) and/or Section 500 read with Section 34 (criminal act with common intention). These charges, if proved, are punishable with up to two years simple imprisonment, or with fine, or both.