Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry has rebutted AirAsia India’s non-executive director R Venkataramanan’s allegations against him saying, “This ridiculous attempt to question the independence of the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and to cloak his (Venkataramanan’s) alleged misadventures by using my name is treated with the contempt it deserves.” Venkataramanan had said on Wednesday: “Emails purportedly written by me have been circulated in the media in the context of the issue of 5/20 (rule) in the aviation sector.”
He had also said, “It was commonly known that the present accusations qua AirAsia India find their root in baseless allegations made by Cyrus P Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against Tata Trusts Trustees (me included) and Tata Sons in his ‘revenge’ legal actions.” On Thursday, Mistry said in a statement that Venkataramanan’s excuse of being “only a non-executive director without any responsibility is totally without any merit”.
He pointed out that Venkataramanan had been involved in the affairs of AirAsia India since its inception, being executive assistant to Ratan Tata at the time of the formation of the company, Tata Sons’ nominee on the board and shareholder with a 1.5% stake in the company. It was deeply disturbing, he said, that a few individuals with alleged questionable motives are bringing disrepute to the Tata brand.
Venkataramanan has contended that in his capacity as non-executive director of AirAsia, he has been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where he had little or no role to play. On May 29, the CBI raided six AirAsia India offices and registered an FIR against group promoter Tony Fernandes, Venkataramanan, directors of AirAsia Group, lobbyists and certain officials, accusing them of violating Foreign Investment Promotion Board and foreign direct investment norms, and bribing government officials for securing international flying licences outside of established norms.