Ratan Tata-Cyrus Mistry battle: Here are key charges, counter charges of both camps

Shareholders of Tata Consultancy Services will today vote on a resolution to remove Cyrus Mistry as the company's director. The crucial voting is expected to happen around 3:30 pm.

The outcome of the extraordinary general meeting would influence the fate of Mistry, who was on Monday removed as director and chairman of Tata Industries following shareholders' vote, first such instance of the embattled executive being ousted from the board since his removal as Tata Group chairman on 24 October.

 Ratan Tata-Cyrus Mistry battle: Here are key charges, counter charges of both camps

Reuters

Today's voting by TCS shareholders is the first of six such EGMs called by major listed firms of the Tata group -- Indian Hotels Co Ltd (20 December), Tata Steel (21 December), Tata Motors (22 December), Tata Chemicals (23 December) and Tata Power (26 December) -- to seek Mistry's ouster as director.

In the run-up to the EGMs, both Ratan Tata camp and Mistry camp have been preparing them selves for the big showdown.

Here's a low-down on the key allegations and counters:

Mistry wanted to control the group: Tata Sons had first alleged that Mistry betrayed trust and tried to gain control of major operating firms of the group, concentrating powers and using free-hand given to him to weaken management structures of the Tata Group. Last week, in a letter to shareholders of the companies, Tata stated that the continued presence of Mistry in their respective boards was a serious "disruptive influence" and could make the companies "dysfunctional".

The Mistry camp countered the last week's letter saying Tata is repeating a lie a thousand times hoping to make it a truth. "The allegation of concentration of power is new-found wisdom being written after seven weeks of failure to come up with any reason for upstaging Mr. Mistry. On almost all Tata Boards there was Tata Group representation," a statement from Mistry's office said.

Tata wanted to sell TCS to IBM: The Mistry camp had earlier lashed out at his removal as Chairman of TCS on 17 November calling it as a reflection of "cloak and dagger" machinations that define "the angry strategy of the Ratan Tata camp". He had even alleged that Tata once tried to sell the IT firm to IBM and his "ego" led to bad business decisions like Corus acquisition at double the original cost.

FC Kohli, the first chief executive of TCS, however, rebutted Mistry's claim. "Mistry's comments regarding the sale of TCS to IBM at some 'unspecified point in time' are not correct," said Kohli, widely considered as father of Indian IT industry. "At no point at that time was there ever an intention of the Tata Group to sell TCS to IBM," he said in a statement.

Mistry later changed his stance, stating his statement was based on "information from sources who were close to JRD Tata who informed him that it was Ratan Tata's intention, and not the group's intention, to sell TCS".

Charges on AugustaWestland scam: The Mistry camp over the last weekend alleged that Vijay Singh, a independent director on Tata Sons board, had a role in the AgustaWestland chopper scam as it happened when he was the Defence Secretary in 2010.

"As Defence Secretary, Singh was a key official involved in award of Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter contract to AugustaWestland in 2010," Mistry's office said in a statement.

However, Singh on Sunday vehemently denied the charge. "I was defence secretary from 2007-2009 and the present cases being prosecuted by CBI pertain to 2004-2005. The AgustaWestland acquisition was approved by the Cabinet well after my retirement," he said.

With PTI

Updated Date: Dec 13, 2016 14:11:01 IST