TFL Files Rejoinder In Pendse Case

Mumbai, November 15: | Updated: Nov 16 2002, 05:30am hrs
Tata Finance Ltd (TFL) filed its rejoinder with the Mumbai High Court for the civil suit against former TFL managing director Dilip Pendse, earlier this week. The company in the rejoinder has highlighted facts brought out by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in their respective reports on the matter.

Sebis report had indicted Mr Pendse on Insider Trading charges, while the RBIs November 2001 report had highlighted Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) irregularities within the Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC).

The TFL rejoinder, inclusive of the above, consists of 15 exhibits. In the same breath, the Tata group, which has set up a two member committee to probe allegations against former TFL chairman F Mehta, former TFL vice chairman KA Chaukar and former Niskalp Investment and Trading Company Ltd chairman JE Talaulicar, will be giving the committee a free hand in its probe. The two member committee consists of eminent personalities like former chief justice of India SP Barucha and noted chartered accountant NV Iyer. That in itself ensures they will have a free hand in their investigations, said a Tata group spokesperson. Stating that the enquiry was internal and for the group to obtain an objective view of allegations made against these senior Tata officials, the spokesperson added that the committee would be studying minutes and records of board meetings, correspondence exchanged between relevant parties, information obtained from employees of TFL, past and present, and could possibly include interviews with the officials concerned. The group did not wish to comment on the end use of the committees findings, stating that it was internal and purely for getting an objective view of the same. The group spokesperson could not elaborate on the timeframe as to when the committee would be able to submit its findings. TFL has earlier filed criminal and civil cases against Mr Pendse. The Mumbai Polices Economic offences Wing (EOW) did not find any criminal activity in its investigation and has marked the criminal case as C classification (civil case). TFL has filed a rejoinder in the court requesting for a re-investigation. The company had also filed a civil case seeking damages of Rs 424 crore from Mr Pendse. The case will come up for hearing this month. TFL had commissioned a fresh report by AF Ferguson & Co to delve into the irregularities in the NBFC. The earlier withdrawn report authored by former AF Ferguson senior partner YM Kale, had pointed out a number of irregularities in the conduct of Mr Chaukar, Mr Mehta and Mr Talaulicar, along with Mr Pendse. AF Ferguson had withdrawn the report and sacked Mr Kale in August, when the Tatas expressed their disagreement with the report and objections against Mr Kales conduct.