MUMBAI: In a dramatic turn to India’s biggest boardroom spat, ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus P Mistry today quit from boards of six key operating companies of the group but not before launching a scathing broadside against Ratan Tata and vowing to shift his fight to a “larger platform”.
Mistry, who had continued to be on boards of operating companies even after his ouster as Chairman of the holding company Tata Sons on October 24, again raked up “breakdown of governance” and questionable dealings including release of more funds to airline venture Air Asia under interim chairman Ratan Tata despite “findings of fraud and wrong-doing”.
“It has now been eight weeks, waiting for concrete reasons to be provided by Mr. Ratan Tata for the illegal coup he staged on the 24th of October. Nothing cogent has been forthcoming,” he said.
In a statement and a video recorded message, he said, “Having deeply reflected on where we are in this movement for cleaning up governance and regaining lost ethical ground, I think it is time to shift gears, up the momentum, and be more incisive in securing the best interests of the Tata Group.”
He added that with this thought in mind, “he decided to shift this campaign to a larger platform and also one where rule of law and equity is upheld”.
Mistry’s statement comes ahead of five Tata companies — Indian Hotels, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power and Tata Chemicals calling extraordinary general meetings starting from tomorrow to oust him as a director on company boards after Ratan Tata, a scion of the conglomerate’s founding family, replaced him as chairman of the group’s holding company.
Tata Consultancy Services has already voted to remove Mistry from the board while two unlisted firms including Tata Industries too have removed him.
In separate regulatory filings, operating companies, including India Hotels, Tata Motors and Tata Steel said Mistry has resigned from their respective boards with immediate effect.
Ratan Tata and Noshir Soonawala, Trustees of Tata Trusts, who had retired from Tata Sons after multiple extensions, have refused to give up participation in key decisions involving Tata Sons and the operating companies, thereby “exposing the Tata Group including the Boards of Directors of various listed companies to serious regulatory consequences.”
Mistry said he had raised the issue of recovery of large sums of money due from one Sivasankaran to Tata Sons in the September 15 Board Meeting, securing approval to litigate.
“Within a few days, Tata Sons received a legal notice instead – clearly indicating a leak from Tata Sons,” he said adding despite him tabling a forensic report containing “findings of fraud and wrong-doing at Air Asia India”, further funds were released under interim chairman Ratan Tata.