Modi hits back at Rahul’s al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion Wa­dia ousted from Tata Steel board

BAT­TLE FOR UP PM says Cong V-C ‘still learn­ing to speak’, takes swipe at Man­mo­han

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ Pawan Dixit let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­[email protected]­dus­tan­ Ratan Tata ar­rives for the Tata Mo­tors ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi mocked at Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi’s po­lit­i­cal and or­a­tory skills on Thurs­day, say­ing now that he has spo­ken, there’s no chance of an earthquake. His re­marks are viewed as a ri­poste to the 46-yearold Gandhi ques­tion­ing the PM’s in­tegrity. Modi said every­one had seen what the “earthquake” was all about.

“They have a young leader; he is learn­ing how to speak. Since he has learnt now to speak, I am the hap­pi­est …. There could have been an earthquake if he hadn’t spo­ken. It would have been an earthquake that peo­ple would have had to deal with for 10 years.” Gandhi ac­cused the PM on Wed­nes­day of ac­cept­ing kick­backs from two business houses, some dur­ing his ten­ure as Gu­jarat CM. He al­leged last week that he knew about “per­sonal cor­rup­tion” by Modi, but the gov­ern­ment didn’t al­low him to speak about it in Par­lia­ment.

He said if he spoke in Par­lia­ment, there would be “an earthquake and Modi would not be able to sit”.

The BJP re­sponded swiftly and called Modi “as pure as the Ganga”. On a brief tour of his Lok Sabha con­stituency, Varanasi, his first since an­nounc­ing the de­mon­eti­sa­tion drive, the PM said the Congress leader is learn­ing to speak, but “kala mann” (black heart) is sur­fac­ing along with “kala dhan” or black money.

Congress vice pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi continued his at­tack on the prime min­is­ter on Thurs­day, chal­leng­ing Naren­dra Modi to an­swer cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions lev­elled by the Op­po­si­tion leader. “Modi ji mock me as much you want, but an­swer my ques­tions,” Gandhi said, hours af­ter the PM at­tacked the Congress leader in Varanasi and made fun of him.

Gandhi waived pur­ported IT pa­pers to the crowd and read out de­tails of so-called trans­ac­tions.

“Lis­ten care­fully, to­day I will re­peat my al­le­ga­tions on Modi ji. You (PM Modi) have to an­swer my ques­tions,” Gandhi said.

Tata Steel share­hold­ers re­moved in­dus­tri­al­ist Nusli Wa­dia as in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor at the com­pany’s ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing (EGM) — more than 90% of mem­bers voted him out.

Mem­bers of yet an­other key group com­pany, Tata Mo­tors, were sched­uled to vote on a sim­i­lar mo­tion on Thurs­day, which sources say, has turned into a pre­dictable duel af­ter for­mer chair­man Cyrus Mistry, whose re­moval was also sought at these EGMs, vol­un­tar­ily stepped down from all listed com­pa­nies on De­cem­ber 19.

Re­sults of the Tata Mo­tors EGM were not known at the time of go­ing to press. The EGMs were con­vened to vote out both Mistry and Wa­dia.

About 90.80% of the votes polled at the Tata Steel EGM on De­cem­ber 21 were in favour of the res­o­lu­tion to re­move Wa­dia, with 9.20% vot­ing against. The Tata Steel EGM was chaired by OP Bhatt, for­mer head of SBI, who had been nom­i­nated as an in­terim chair­man for the steel com­pany.

The share­holder votes and the de­nial of in­terim re­lief by the courts to a pe­ti­tion by Mistry on Thurs­day have been turn­ing the 55-day lead­er­ship dis­pute at In­dia’s old­est business house into a tame draw. Ex­pec­ta­tions on a long­drawn fight came down af­ter the for­mer chair­man stepped down from the boards, but vowed to fight in the courts.

“Mistry’s res­ig­na­tion must not be seen as an end in it­self – in­stead it must be read as a be­gin­ning to clean up is­sues that plague the gov­er­nance struc­tures across the group, ad­dress the op­er­a­tional as­pects and es­tab­lish a suc­ces­sion plan that is en­dur­ing,” said proxy ad­vi­sory IIAS, which ad­vises share­hold­ers on how to vote at meet­ings.

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