The Tata-Mistry feud continued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan N Tata said the decision to oust Cyrus Mistry was not a pleasant one.
Ratan Tata’s rejoinder refers Mistry as a ‘Trojan horse‘ , whose actions and allegations were undignified and not in keeping with the Tata’s credit.
In December 2019, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had reinstated Cyrus Mistry as chairperson of Tata Sons, and upheld charges of oppression of minority shareholders. Tata Sons had challenged this order before the Supreme Court.
The Apex court in January had stayed the NCLAT judgment and in May, Mistry also challenged the NCLAT judgment. In the cross-appeal, Mistry had sought for proportionate representation for the Pallonji Group on the Tata Sons board and claimed that a quasi-partnership exist between the two groups.
Defending Mistry’s “sudden” removal, Tata said that there will always be an element of suddenness in a decision of this nature. “Such decisions are not like commercial launch of a product which will have a precursor. But to say that the decision was ‘hasty’ is totally unjustified,” he said.
Tata also argued that Mistry has complained of the legacy that he inherited, and this reflected poorly on him, as he was picked for guiding the group into the future and not to criticise the past.
Defending the Nano project, Tata expressed dismay at Mistry questioning his emotional decisions as Tata Group’s endeavors are based on passion and emotion, and not short term returns. Interestingly, he also pointed out how his predecessors such as Sir Dorab Tata pledged wife’s jewellery to save Tata Steel and how JRD Tata’s passion for aviation led to Air India.
Ratan Tata in his written statement said there is dignity in leaving things unsaid, and this decorum is maintained across the Tata boards. He recorded that Cyrus Mistry was given an opportunity to leave gracefully, before the board resolved to oust him.
Tata said that it was clear that the reason Mistry had argued about oppression is due to the personal hurt and grievance stemming from the ouster. He argued that it was ironic for Pallonji Group to claim oppression with their investment of Rs 69 crore in 1965, growing by 2,100 times, to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.