Wadia group chief Nusli Wadia hailed the restoration of Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons Chairman and said that the latter's removal was the vindictive act of one person in a veiled attack on Ratan Tata, said news reports.
Wadia, 75, said that the ouster of Mistry was the result of a malicious and vindictive act of one person and the removal was 'not in keeping with the ethos, ethics and principles laid down by JRD Tata, reported The Economic Times quoting Wadia. The Wadia group head reacted thus the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday reinstated Mistry as Tata Sons chief.
“Cyrus proved his capabilities to grow the institution and correct all the unprofitable and ill-advised forays and investments made by the companies, which led to tens of thousands of crores of unviable debt in each of these companies prior to his becoming chairman. It’s this that was the cause of his uncalled for, unjust, vengeful removal. Cyrus stands vindicated,” Wadia was quoted as saying in the report.
Former Tata group chairman JRD Tata wanted Wadia to take over the group’s reins after him, but the current Bombay Dyeing chairman had withdrawn in favour of Ratan Tata, according to a report in Business Standard.
Wadia was offered the vice-chairman post after Ratan Tata became the Tata Sons chairman, but he yet again refused to accept the offer and stayed as the independent director on the board of three Tata group companies, said the report.
In July this year, the Bombay High Court had quashed proceedings initiated by a local court against Ratan Tata, its current chairman N Chandrasekaran and eight directors of the firm in a criminal defamation case filed by Wadia.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ratan Tata, earlier told the court that the defamation case was because of fallout of a corporate dispute.
Wadia moves court against removal from group firms
Wadia was voted out by shareholders at a specially convened general meeting between December 2016 and February 2017.
In December 2016, Wadia filed a defamation suit against Tata Sons in the Bombay High Court, seeking damages for harming his reputation while proposing to remove him as an independent director of three of Tata Group companies. He had also sought Rs 3,000 crore in damages. He claimed that Ratan Tata and others had made defamatory statements against him after they ousted Mistry on 24 October 2016 as the group chairman of Tata Sons.
His counsel informed the court that the accused had alleged that Wadia was acting in concert with Mistry, and thus against the interests of the Tata group as a whole.
Wadia in his complaint claimed that he approached the court as he was not satisfied with the explanations the respondents had given him following his letters to them. His complaint sought to initiate defamation proceedings against them under Section 500 of IPC.
In December 2018, a Mumbai court had issued notices against Tata, current chairman N Chandrasekaran and eight directors of the group along with the group chief operating officer in a defamation complaint filed by Wadia. Tata had then approached the Bombay High Court seeking to quash and stay the proceedings initiated against him and others by a magistrate court.
In April this year, Tata told the Bombay High Court that the defamation case filed against him and other directors of the group by industrialist Wadia was because of the fallout of a corporate dispute.
Wadia had differences with Tata over Nano
In December 2016, Wadia had said he had differences with Ratan Tata over the continuation of the Nano, which has proved to be a serious drain on the financial resources of the company.
In a letter to the shareholders of the homegrown auto major ahead of the extraordinary general meeting or EGM on 22 December 2016, Wadia said the investment and losses on Nano have been in thousands of crore of rupees.
Giving reasons why he believed the small car should be closed, Wadia said: "The Nano, initially a car conceived to sell at Rs 1 lakh was launched in 2008 and has proved to be a serious drain on the financial resources of Tata Motors. Even at price Rs 2.25 lakh, the car neither sells nor is viable as every sale of the vehicle is at a substantial loss to the company."
In January this year, Tata Motors had hinted that the production and sales of Nano would stop from April 2020 after it was launched in 2009 with an initial price of about Rs 1 lakh.
The entry-level car, the brainchild of Ratan Tata who envisaged giving a safer and affordable alternative to families riding on two-wheelers, received a lacklustre response from the Indian consumer.
— With PTI inputs
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Updated Date: Dec 19, 2019 13:40:38 IST