Mumbai: R Venkataramanan, managing trustee of Tata Trusts, has finally resigned amid mounting pressure after an adverse Income Tax Department order over compensations paid to him. Venkataramanan has also been in the news for ongoing investigations in the AirAsia India matter.
Venkataramanan's Rs 2.66-crore annual compensation has been under the income tax scanner and this led to the withdrawal of tax exemption to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust--the largest of all the trusts--in December 2018.
Venkataramanan, known more as Venkat, has been the managing trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and is responsible for the management and oversight of all the Tata Trusts. The Tata Trusts are public charities and are the principal shareholders of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, India’s largest conglomerate.
Considered very close to Ratan Tata, the group patriarch and chairman of the trusts, Venkat is also under the scanner in a money laundering case involving AirAsia India, which is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The low-cost AirAsia India is a 51:49 joint venture between the Tatas and the Malaysian airline group AirAsia.
“Some of the trustees were also very critical of the allegations relating to the income tax order that withdrew tax exemptions to the trusts, which is the largest and the oldest public charity in the country,” said a PTI report, citing sources.
The Dorabji Tata Trust has appealed against the
I-T order, though the contents of the order are not known yet.
A statement issued by Tata Trusts said, “The managing trustee of the Tata Trusts, R Venkataramanan, had informed the chairman and the trustees of the Tata Trusts that he had been considering other options, given that he was completing five years as the Trusts’ executive trustee / managing trustee, and sought to be relieved.”.
Venkataramanan will relinquish responsibilities on March 31, 2019.
“A Committee of Trustees, comprising Ratan N Tata, chairman of the Tata Trusts, Vijay Singh and Venu Srinivasan, vice-chairmen of Tata Trusts, has been established with immediate effect to oversee the operations and select a chief executive for Tata Trusts,” Tata Trusts said in a statement.
In another significant development, Ratan Tata's half brother Noel N Tata has been appointed the trustee of Sir Ratan Tata Trust, the second largest among the dozen-odd charities that make up the Tata Trusts....