Mumbai: Ratcheting up war of words, ousted Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry on Monday rebutted “insinuations” of mishandling a dispute with Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, saying Ratan Tata was party to all decisions regarding the telecom venture, a remark that Tata Sons rejected as ‘imagined insinuations’.
The handling of the USD 1.17 billion compensation slapped by an arbitration panel over breach of agreement with DoCoMo is said to one of the triggers for Tata Sons sacking Mistry last month.
Meanwhile, N S Rajan and Nirmalya Kumar resigned as non- executive directors on boards of Indian Hotels Company and Tata Chemicals respectively, days after Group Executive Council set up by Mistry was disbanded.
In a statement, Mistry’s office said all decisions on the telecom joint venture with DoCoMo and the following dispute were taken with unanimous approval of Board of Tata Sons as well as family patriarch Ratan Tata.
“Insinuations that the Docomo issue was handled under the watch of Mistry in a manner inconsistent with Tata culture and values are baseless. The suggestion that Ratan Tata and the trustees would not have approved of the manner in which the litigation was conducted is contrary to what transpired,” the statement said.
Responding to the statement, a Tata group spokesman said: “The insinuations are being imagined and this (DoCoMo) matter is sub-judice.”
Reiterating that the agreement with DoCoMo had been executed before Mistry became executive chairman of the Tata Group, the statement from his office said: “All decisions were taken with the unanimous approval of the Tata Sons board. In fact, all decisions were collective decisions and the actions were consistent with every such collective decision.” Stating that a number of discussions on the DoCoMo issue were held in the Tata Sons board, Mistry said he had “always mentioned that the Tatas should honour all commitments within the law. This stance is based on Tata Sons’ board view and was always consistent with the series of board meetings in which the Docomo issue was discussed.”
Tata Group is entangled in a legal tussle with Japanese firm, NTT DoCoMo. DoCoMo had in November 2009 acquired 26.5 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices for about Rs 12,740 crore (at Rs 117 per share) with an understanding that in case it exits the venture within five years, it will be paid a minimum 50 per cent of the acquisition price.