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Darbari Seth Never Betrayed Tata Confidence: Palkhivala Clarifies

BSCAL 

Nani A Palkhivala, chairman emeritus of ACC, has clarified that he never suggested that Darbari Seth, chairman emeritus of Tata Chemicals, betrayed the Tatas confidence.

I hold Darbari Seth in the highest regard, he said in response to a report published in this newspaper yesterday. The report had quoted an interview Palkhivala had given to ABNi to be telecast by it tomorrow.

On the ouster or sidelining of Tata group stalwarts like Russi Mody, Darbari Seth and Ajit Kerkar, the report had quoted him as: The Tatas have maintained the highest standards of ethics and integrity and purity. The persons you have mentioned are persons who have betrayed this kind of confidence of the Tatas.

Business Standard has obtained the transcript of the interview he gave to ABNi. The complete text of the relevant question and answer is given below:

Question: Mr Palkhivala, since Mr Ratan Tata took charge from Mr JRD Tata, it seems that the so-called satraps, the so-called important people in the Tata group have slowly but surely fallen out. First it was Mr Russi Mody. Thereafter, Mr Darbari Seth stepped aside. Now, we have this unseemly controversy over Mr Ajit Kerkar, who wanted to remain a non-executive chairman of Indian Hotels. Why has this happened ?

Answer: I do not think this is right. I mean I would not like to go into the details because they are not relevant for this discussion. But there are two important things. First, the Tatas have maintained the highest standard of ethics and integrity and purity. Second, the persons you mentioned are persons who have betrayed this kind of confidence of the Tatas. I wont go into the details. But you may take it from me that what has happened to Ajit Kerkar could not have happened to a man who was above the board.

First Published: Tue, November 11 1997. 00:00 IST