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21st of January 2018

Economy



Cyrus Mistry himself sought guidance from Ratan Tata, says Tata's counsel

Contesting allegations of "mismanagement" at the group, Tatas on Friday said former chairman Cyrus Mistry himself had suggested pre-consultation with his predecessor Ratan Tata to seek on draft corporate governance code. "Mistry sought guidance...and after his removal, these acts were deemed as oppressive," Tata Sons' counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the National Company Law Tribunal here, which is hearing petitions filed by two firms controlled by the Mistry family against the Tata Group. The petitions have alleged "mismanagement" in the Tata Group and "oppression" of minority share-holders. Mistry had instructed Tata Group companies to share information (with Ratan Tata), the lawyer said. A month before his dismissal as chairman, Mistry had circulated a draft corporate governance code, where he himself suggested a pre-consultation process with Tata who was emeritus chairman, and also suggested taking the views of Tata Trusts, Singhvi said. Mistry was now talking about corporate governance only to air his dismay at being removed, the Tata lawyer said. "Issues which were proper and normal in the business course before October 2016 suddenly became weapons of interference and oppression," Singhvi argued. Further, some of the articles of association of Tata Sons, questioned by the petitioners, were in existence unchallenged for over 140 years since the inception of the group, the lawyer said. Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investments have moved the NCLT against Tata Sons following Mistry's ouster as the group chairman on October 24, 2016, and as a director on February 6, 2017.

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