Rejecting Cyrus Mistry’s allegation of inappropriate interference during his term as chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata’s counsel on Friday submitted to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) around 20 e-mails exchanged between the two between July 2013 and June 2016 to show that Mistry indeed used to seek his guidance on important business decisions.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Ratan Tata, informed the tribunal that 18 of the 20 e-mails exchanged between the two were actually from Mistry’s end and in matters where Tata did not have enough domain knowledge, he would just let Mistry take a call on them. Singhvi said Tata wrote a hand-written letter to Mistry on the day he saw a newspaper advertisement regarding Tata Motors’ Rs 7,500 crore rights issue, stating that he was more “shocked” than “surprised” with the fact that such a huge decision had been taken without his knowledge.
Even as the Mistry group is now terming that incident as a glaring instance of interference, Mistry on February 4, 2015 – four days after Tata’s letter – wrote him back, saying: “I wrongly assumed that you were informed”. Singhvi said Mistry group had not raised the oppression issue even then, but started flagging it only after he was removed from the chairman’s post in October, 2016. Mistry took over at the helm of Tata Sons in 2012.
Mistry had on August 3, 2018 approached the appellate tribunal challenging the July 9, 2018 order of the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that dismissed his plea challenging his removal as the chairman of the company. He also alleged inappropriate interference by Ratan Tata and Noshir Soonawala during his tenure.
The former Tata Sons chairman has also urged the NCLAT to order Tata Sons to amend Article 121 in its Articles of Association as it undermines the authority and role of board of directors, which is regulated by the Companies Act.