Mumbai: Meherji Pallonji Group director Mehli Mistry, who was caught in a crossfire between friend Ratan Tata and cousin Cyrus Mistry, expressed pleasure over the Supreme Court (SC) finding no merit in the allegations levelled against him by the scion of Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group.
SP, a minority shareholder of Tata Sons, had claimed that Mehli received “huge benefits” due to his personal relationship with company chairman emeritus Ratan Tata. “I’m happy that my name has been cleared by the Supreme Court. This was important, especially for my wife and daughter, and after the attacks on my integrity,” Mehli said.
SP had sought an independent audit into the transactions between Mehli and Ratan Tata/Tata companies. Cyrus had alleged that Mehli received dredging and shipping contracts from Tata Power without proper tendering procedures. He also raised questions over an apartment in Bakhtawar, in the plush south Mumbai locality of Colaba, that was given to Mehli by Forbes Gokak (a former Tata company). The SP scion also dragged Ratan Tata’s reimbursement to Mehli in lieu of the transfer of an agricultural land in Alibaug.
The SC, however, in its judgment dated March 26, observed that there is nothing to indicate that Ratan Tata got enriched at the cost of Forbes Gokak. The court pointed out that the Bakhtawar apartment transaction happened in 2002 but the allegation was raised in 2016. The apex court also held that the Alibaug agricultural land deal was a “regular transfer that took place in 1993”. About the dredging and shipping allegations, the court observed that the contract was awarded in 1993 and was renewed five times between 2002 and 2014. Cyrus, who was a director of Tata Power from 1996 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2016 did not raise any objections then, the SC said.
On the allegations that Mehli received favours due to his close relationship with Ratan Tata, the SC said that the only document that the petitioner filed and relied on was an email by Mehli addressed, among others, to S Padmanabhan of Tata Power.
Mehli and Cyrus’s mothers are sisters but the relationship between the cousins soured after the latter became the chairman of Tata Sons in 2012.