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In SC against Mistry order, Ratan Tata fighting biggest battle of his life

Tata's petition will be mentioned before the chief justice of India on Monday who will decide on the hearing date and bench

Dev Chatterjee  |  Mumbai 

Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata (Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Ratan Tata, the patriarch of the Tata group, is fighting the biggest battle of his life as he takes on his former protege turned foe, Cyrus Mistry in the Supreme Court over the removal of latter as Tata chairman in October 2016.

Tata's petition will be mentioned before the chief justice of India on Monday who will decide on the hearing date and bench.

This is not the first time Tata is fighting a pitched corporate battle. Insiders said soon after Tata took over, he removed several satraps who were close to former chairman, JRD Tata and installed his own men. Tata removed Tata Steel the then Chairman, Russi Mody, Indian Hotels Chairman Ajit Kerkar and Darbari Seth from Tata Chemicals in the 90s.

Tata found support in Nusli Wadia, another close confidant of JRD Tata. But in the battle between Tata and Mistry, Wadia decided to side with Mistry. "As an independent director, Wadia was not only against Corus Steel acquisition by Tata Steel but also against Tata Steel investing in telecom sector when the matter was bought to the Board. Tata was unhappy but did not pursue the matter at Tata Steel board and arranged for funds from other sources," said an insider.

While Tata's famous battle with present Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee over Tata Motors plant in Singur in Bengal left Tata Motors bleeding, it catapulted Banerjee to the Chief Minister's position.

During his haydays, Tata who retired as executive chairman in 2012, also took on the telecom minister in Manmohan Singh government, Dayanidhi Maran who was partial against Tata's telecom venture by not giving crucial clearances.

While Tata has won many a battles and lost a few, the fight with Mistry is making the headlines as Mistry highlighted several decisions taken by Tata which turned out to be faulty. But insiders said Tata should be credited for making Tata a global brand name and taking over like Corus Steel and Jaguar Land Rover - which took Tata group's turnover above the $100 billlion mark.

First Published: Sun, January 05 2020. 18:42 IST
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