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Leaders mourn the death of gentleman Cyrus Mistry

The world has lost a fine gentleman- Cyrus Mistry (Getty Images)

BBC News
London, September 5, 2022

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the death of Cyrus Mistry, the billionaire former Chairman of the Tata Group, the country’s largest conglomerate, as a ‘big loss’ for the business world.

Mr Mistry died on Sunday (September 4, 2022) in a road accident while travelling to Mumbai.

One other person was killed and two more passengers were injured, Maharashtra Police said.

He was 54 years old.

About the accident

Mr Mistry and his companions were travelling in a Mercedes car through the Palghar district of Maharashtra when the accident happened on Sunday afternoon, Police said.

The vehicle is said to have hit a divider in the road while crossing a bridge over a river, and Mr Mistry subsequently died at the crash scene.

At least two others were taken to hospital.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a Police investigation.

The crash brought into focus the country’s high number of road accidents, with government data showing that these claimed 150,000 lives in 2021 – an average of 18 per hour.

Mistry’s family founded and ran the construction behemoth Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

This is the second tragedy to hit the Mistry family in just four months – Cyrus Mistry’s father Pallonji Mistry died in June at the age of 93.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Cyrus Mistry (PTI File Photo)

A Gentle Soul

In a Tweet, Mr Modi called Mr Mistry a “promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess.”

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani called Mistry a “gentle soul; a man with a vision and a mission”.

Several State Chief Ministers and Opposition Leaders also expressed their shock and sadness.

Rahul Gandhi, Leader of the Congress Party, said that Mr Mistry was among “the brightest business minds of the country, who made a significant contribution to India’s growth story.”

Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man, called Mr Mistry “one of the finest gentlemen” he knew.

Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, said that the news was “hard to digest.”

“I got to know Cyrus well during his all-too-brief tenure as the Head of the House of Tata. I was convinced that he was destined for greatness. If life had other plans for him, so be it, but life itself should not have been snatched away from him,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr Mahindra also tweeted that Mr Mistry was resolving to “always wear [his] seat belt even when in the rear seat of a car” after news reports said that Mr Mistry and a co-passenger who was with him in the back seat were not wearing seatbelts – both died in the crash, while the two people in the front are in hospital with injuries.

The corporate feud

While Mr Mistry’s ouster as the Chairman of the Tata Group, the biggest conglomerate in India sparked a major corporate feud in 2016, his former colleagues at the Group also remembered him with love and affection.

In a statement, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which is a part of the Tata Group, called him a “warm, friendly, and congenial person who built a strong relationship with the TCS family during his time as the Chairman of the company.”

N Chandrasekaran, who is the current Chairman of Tata Sons, said that he was ‘deeply saddened by Mr Mistry’s death.

“He had a passion for life and it is tragic that he passed away at such a young age,” he said.

Mr Mistry, who graduated from the London Business School, was the youngest son of construction baron Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry. He was often described by friends and colleagues as a soft-spoken and candid person.

He was known to enjoy playing golf and was a prolific reader.

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