As the boardroom battle rages on, Tata Sons has asked Nusli Wadia
to withdraw his legal notice, saying there was nothing vindictive in its resolution seeking his removal as independent director on the board of group firms.
Tata Sons, holding company of the $103-billion salt-to-software group, is seeking to remove Wadia from the boards of Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals
and Tata Motors, for allegedly galvanising independent directors against the Tatas and acting in concert with estranged chairman Cyrus Mistry.
Wadia, on his part, has served legal notices, threatening to initiate civil and criminal proceeds against Tata Sons and its directors on the special notice to Tata Steel.
Rejecting the defamation notice as “misconceived and unfounded,” Tata Sons in a letter to Wadia said its notice, seeking his removal was issued exercising its legal rights and obligations “not intended to lower” his reputation or defame him but “instead to take appropriate action in accordance with law”.
“It is denied that the contents of our Special Notice are defamatory as alleged or otherwise,” it said, denying insinuations and motives attached by Wadia to the resolution.
It said Wadia’s relationship with JRD Tata
and Ratan Tata, who was made interim head of the holding company after Mistry was ousted abruptly on October 24, is a personal matter.
“You would appreciate that Tata Sons and its directors will act in the interests of Tata Sons, its stakeholders and other Tata Group companies. If you have any respect for your association with Mr JRD Tata
and Mr Ratan Tata, as mentioned by you, you would seriously consider withdrawing this notice,” it said.
Tata Sons said there was no legal or other requirement for it as a shareholder to provide any reason for seeking his removal.
Tata Sons went on to charge Wadia’s correspondence as “an attempt to try and carry on a media trial on the defamation notice”.
“It is denied that our Special Notice constitutes a personal vendetta against you or that it is vindictive action as alleged or otherwise. It is denied that anything stated in our Special Notice was intended to or has caused damage to your reputation as a professional or has caused irreparable injury as alleged or otherwise. It is denied that the Special Notice has been issued with malicious intent, as alleged,” it said.
The company hoped the defamation notice was not “an attempt to coerce our directors and officers not to perform their fiduciary obligations to Tata Sons Ltd and its stakeholders.
In a letter to Wadia, Tata Sons said as a 29.75 per cent owner of Tata Steel, it had “certain rights, duties and obligations” and it has exercised its right as a shareholder and issued Special Notice dated November 10 to the Board of Directors seeking removal.