Ratan Tata must be having a feeling of relief as he met with success of sorts for the second time at the Supreme Court. Nusli Wadia, Chairman of Bombay Dyeing agreed to withdraw his defamation suit against Tata that had demanded that Tata pay ₹3,000 crore as damages for having sullied his reputation. When the case came up for hearing last week, the SC bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice Bobde, asked the two leading industrialists to sit down and sort out their differences and report back to the court by Monday, January 13. Accordingly, Ratan Tata issued a statement that he had no intention to defame Wadia and Wadia filed the petition in the apex court yesterday to withdraw his defamation suit. The Supreme Court promptly passed orders to the effect that the case stands withdrawn bringing to a close what might have turned out to be one of the ugliest corporate battles fought in the courts.
For Ratan Tata, coming as it does after he got relief in the Cyrus Mistry case where the SC stayed the NCLAT order, it must be quite a relief. The two cases are somewhat related.
Cyrus Mistry got removed as the Executive Chairman of the Tata empire in 2016 and Nusli Wadia, who was a Director in three of the Tata Group companies had spoken in support of Mistry. This led to his removal as well from the board of the three companies, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, and Tata Chemicals. A communication that Ratan Tata had then circulated to the board members of these companies justifying the removal of Nusli Wadia had surfaced and Wadia took offence to the language used in that communication.
It is based on this that he had filed his case in the court alleging that his reputation as an industrialist was being tarnished and that Ratan Tata and the Tata Group must pay him compensation to the extent of ₹3,000 crore. The plea from the side of Ratan Tata was that the communication was only an internal one but had to be submitted to the stock exchanges in compliance with the regulations and therefore became public.
Now with the qualified apology stating there was no intent to damage the reputation and with Wadia retracting his suit, order appears to have been restored in the relationship between Wadia and Tata.