Tata sues ex-chief for breach of con­fi­den­tial­ity

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Indian salt-to-steel con­glom­er­ate Tata upped the ante in their bit­ter dis­pute with ousted for­mer chair­man Cyrus Mistry yesterday, say­ing they were su­ing him for breach of con­fi­den­tial­ity.

Tata Sons, the hold­ing com­pany of In­dia’s sprawl­ing $103 bil­lion Tata Group, ac­cused Mistry in a le­gal no­tice sent to his lawyers of caus­ing “ir­repara­ble harm and dam­age” to the com­pany by mak­ing pub­lic sen­si­tive doc­u­ments, the Press Trust of In­dia (PTI) re­ported. In the lat­est twist in an in­creas­ingly ac­ri­mo­nious bat­tle be­tween Mistry and In­dia’s most fa­mous fam­ily con­glom­er­ate, Tata said its ex-chief had acted reck­lessly in pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion and min­utes from board meet­ings to a com­pa­nies’ dis­pute hear­ing last week.

“By pass­ing on con­fi­den­tial and sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion ac­cessed by you in your ca­pac­ity as a di­rec­tor of Tata Sons to com­pa­nies owned and con­trolled by your fam­ily... you have acted in com­plete vi­o­la­tion of your con­fi­den­tial­ity un­der­tak­ing to Tata Sons, your fidu­ciary du­ties to­wards Tata Sons and your obli­ga­tions un­der the Tata Code of Con­duct,” read the le­gal no­tice, ac­cord­ing to PTI.

“Such reck­less fail­ure on your part... has caused ir­repara­ble harm and dam­age to Tata Sons and Tata Group,” it added. Tata said they in­tended to pur­sue all means avail­able un­der law with re­gard to the al­leged breach of con­fi­den­tial­ity, ac­cord­ing to PTI and other re­ports. Nei­ther Tata Sons nor Mistry were im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment. Mistry was sacked as chair­man of Tata Sons in Oc­to­ber. His dis­missal shocked In­dia’s busi­ness com­mu­nity and saw fam­ily pa­tri­arch Ratan Tata take in­terim charge of the sprawl­ing con­glom­er­ate that he led for more than two decades.

Tata, who made way for Mistry in 2012, was said to be un­happy with the di­rec­tion his suc­ces­sor was tak­ing In­dia’s most fa­mous fam­ily con­glom­er­ate but the lat­ter claims he was il­le­gally dis­missed and ac­cused the group of cor­po­rate mal­prac­tice at last week’s Na­tional Com­pany Law Tri­bunal (NCLT) hear­ing in Mum­bai. Tata and Mistry, pil­lars of In­dia’s proud but dwin­dling Parsi com­mu­nity, have been en­gaged in an undig­ni­fied pub­lic bat­tle since the ouster, re­leas­ing ac­cu­sa­tions and counter-ac­cu­sa­tions against each other al­most daily, plung­ing the world-renowned group into tur­moil.

The 150-year-old con­glom­er­ate, which was founded un­der Bri­tish colo­nial rule has long been a source of pride for In­dia but the Tata-Mistry feud is threat­en­ing its rep­u­ta­tion and has wiped around $9 bil­lion from the col­lec­tive stock mar­ket value of the group’s eight main com­pa­nies.

Tata owns Bri­tain’s Tet­ley Tea and Jaguar Land Rover, and the An­glo-Dutch steel firm Corus. It op­er­ates in more than 100 coun­tries. —AFP

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