Mumbai, July 5: Cyrus Mistry, Shapoor Mistry and others have been caught in RS 500 crore criminal defamation case filed by R Venkataramanan, a Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts’. As a result, the former chairman of the Tata Group and others involved in the case have been summoned before the Esplanade Magistrate Court on August 24.

The summons was issued by Magistrate KG Paldewar, who would file charges after hearing the cases from both sides. According to Venkataramanan false accusations were made by the accused against him. The persons named in the case will have to apply for bail bonds until the hearing of the case if fully completed and a decision has been reached.

R Venkataramanan is being represented by counsel Parvez Memon, who had argued in the last hearing of the case that under Article 21 of the constitution, a citizen’s right to life is inclusive of the right to live with dignity. The court had largely agreed with Memon’s assessment.

The complainant’s main concern pertains to an October 25, 2016, e-mail to Tata Sons directors and trustees of Tata Trusts by Cyrus Mistry that allegedly contained defamatory statements. In the e-mail, Mistry had written that “certain fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore” involving non-existent parties in India and Singapore at AirAsia India were considered “non-material” by Venkat and that he “didn’t encourage any further study” of it. This letter was also reviewed and made public by the media.

Putting forth Venkataramanan’s case, Memon had said in the earlier hearing, “All such allegations were hurled irresponsibly against Venkataramanan, Ratan Tata, Tata Sons and others only after his unceremonious ouster from Tata Sons. Why was he otherwise silent for his entire tenure, not to speak about several of his own wrongdoings against which Tata Sons may have its own cause of action.”

In response, a statement from Cyrus Mistry’s office read, “The attempt to initiate criminal prosecution for alleged defamation is an ill-advised and immature proxy battle through Mr Venkataramanan, whose role in Air Asia is subject matter of several investigations by law enforcement agencies.”

It further added, “The move by the Tata Trustees to attempt to muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings faced by them, now before the NCLAT, will be effectively and appropriately dealt with. The petitioners in the NCLAT proceedings and Mr Mistry will continue to do the right thing…and protect it from oppressive conduct and mismanagement.”