Independent directors gets Cyrus Mistry’s support

PTI
Published Nov 14, 2016, 1:08 am IST
Updated Nov 14, 2016, 1:15 am IST
Tata Sons says it will do whatever is required to oust Mistry.
Cyrus Mistry
 Cyrus Mistry

Mumbai: The Tata-Mistry feud flared up on Sunday, with the ousted chairman rebutting allegations of “drifting away” Tata companies during his tenure and hitting back at attempts to question integrity of independent directors who backed him, prompting the $102-billion group’s holding firm Tata Sons to assert it will do “whatever is required” to deal with the situation.

Terming the Tata Sons’ contention that group’s firms were “drifting away” under him as “furthest from truth”, Mistry hit out first at Tata Sons calling its criticism of independent directors as “truly unfortunate”.

 

This led the salt-to-software conglomerate to assert that it will do “whatever is required to deal with the situation”, hinting at a no-holds-barred battle in the days ahead.

A day ahead of the crucial board meet of Tata Motors, the group also said it is “crucially important” for the boards, including the independent directors, to “consider their views and positions ensure that the future of Tata companies is protected, taking into consideration the interest of all stakeholders”.

It can be noted that the independent directors of at least two big companies from the Group, including Indian Hotels Company and Tata Chemicals, have backed the ousted chairman leading the holding company to question their objectives in a 9-page letter sent last week.

Mr Mistry’s first statement was a part-rebuttal of the allegations levelled against him in the statement and in defence of the independent directors. “To suggest that ‘ulterior objectives’ and ‘clever strategy’ can sway these eminent names in undertaking their fiduciary duties and in discharging the duties mandated by statute as independent directors is absolutely astonishing and really speaks of how low Tata Sons has unfortunately stooped in their public statements,” a statement from his office said, in a rebuttal to the recent actions of Tata Sons.

Stating that the directors whose conduct has been questioned include names like Deepak Parekh, Nusli Wadia and Nadir Godrej, among others, Mistry added that it is “truly unfortunate” that independence of “stalwarts of India Inc” is being questioned. The statement is a rebuttal to the 9-page open letter issued by the Tata Sons in which it had accused Mistry of “trying to gain control of Indian Hotels Company, whose independent directors had sided with the former chairman of Tata Sons”.

“He has cleverly ensured over these years that he would be the only Tata Sons representative on the board of IHCL in order to frustrate Tata Sons' ability to exercise influence and control on IHCL,” the Tata Sons’ letter had said. Tata Sons have also initiated action to expel Mr Wadia from its company boards.

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