Ratan Tata has appealed to the Supreme Court to reject Cyrus Mistry’s petition. Tata claimed that it was all about Mistry’s ‘commercial ambition’. He also said that the legal battle was about Mistry’s dismissal as the director of Tata Sons and “not the rights of minority shareholders.”

In the appeal, 82-year-old Tata said he would not like to explain or defend his performance in various capacities “at this stage of my life and career”.

“It is for the companies and their stakeholders to judge. However, one thing I would like to clarify and reiterate is that throughout the past several decades … I have been solely guided by the interest of this group and its enduring legacy, which cannot be judged in numbers alone and goes beyond return on investment and costs of capital,” he added.

 

The Tata Sons chairman made the appeal in a counter-affidavit filed with the apex court. He also justified moves such as the acquisition of Corus Steel and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which Mistry alleged had caused “value erosion for the Tata Group”, as per a Business Standard report.

 

As per Tata, Mistry’s own investment of Rs 69 crore (made in 1965) is today valued above Rs 1 lakh crore – which “underscores the irony that they are oppressed”.

He also addressed other allegations, including attempts to manufacture safe and affordable Tata Nano; calling Mistry’s accusations a “smear campaign.”

“Such comments (accusation of causing value erosion) to selectively question past business decisions, with the benefit of hindsight vision, show the immaturity and the short sightedness with which appellants look at things,” he added.

He also pointed out instances where Pallonji Mistry – Cyrus Mistry’s father, had congratulated Tata and the company for the financial results and growth. “I point out the above-mentioned record only to show how opportunistic and selective the appellants have been in their conduct in presenting their case,” Tata said.

Mistry was removed from the group by the Tata Sons board in 2016 for “non-performance” and has since been locked in legal tussle with the group on various factors including board representation. He had taken the helm from Tata, after the latter’s retirement in 2012.

Tata Trusts, chaired by Ratan Tata owns 66 percent stake in Tata Sons – which holds the Tata Group, while Mistry and family own a combined 18.5 percent, and the rest by various Tata Group companies.

Besides Tata, the Tata Trusts has also filed an affidavit with the SC. It stated that Mistry’s commercial ambitions was “the crux of the petition” and not “oppression of shareholders.” It also told the court that Tata Sons was never intended to be and is not a “‘two-group company’ and there is certainly no quasi-partnership between the appellants (Cyrus Investments and another firm) and the so called “Tata Group’,” said the affidavit.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde had on May 29 issued notice to TSPL and others on a cross-appeal filed by Cyrus Investments.

Mistry is seeking representation in the company in proportion to the 18.37 percent stake held by his family, the cross-appeal has said.

In its affidavit filed in the top court, Tata Sons has alleged that the thrust of that Cyrus Investments’ focus “has now shifted to propagating the quasi-partnership theory to secure the relief of ‘proportionate representation’.”

The affidavit further said that Tata Sons’ classification as a “’two-group company’, consisting of the appellants on the one hand, and the Tata Group on the other, is a complete mischaracterization of the membership of Tata Sons.”

News Source: Moneycontrol

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