Mumbai: Nusli Wadia, an independent director on three Tata group company boards, wrote yet another letter to Tata Sons Ltd on Wednesday in response to the holding firm asking him to withdraw his threat of a legal notice.
In the new letter, Wadia said Tata Sons had failed to justify the defamatory allegations made against him.
The 24 November letter from Tata Sons failed to “submit even a tittle of proof” to substantiate allegations against him or provide documentary evidence, Wadia wrote in his letter.
Instead, Tata Sons has “chosen to hide behind the veil of a requisitionist, on the mistaken assumption that ‘a requisitionist’ has right to defame”.
Requisitionist here refers to Tata Sons, which has called for shareholder meetings to oust Wadia and Cyrus Mistry from the boards of Tata Steel Ltd, Tata Chemicals Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd.
Mint has a copy of the letter. A Tata Sons spokesperson confirmed receipt of Wadia’s letter and said the company will respond appropriately.
Stating that he stands behind whatever he had said in his earlier letters, Wadia said he felt compelled to initiate proceedings.
He said the reasons cited by Tata Sons to seek his removal were defamatory in nature and harmed his reputation.
Wadia said even as Tata Sons contended it was not bound by law to give reasons (for requesting his ouster), the company’s directors had cited reasons.
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“You having admitted that you are not required ‘to even provide any reasons’ and instead chose in order to defame me deliberately gave the Special Notice making such false allegations and statements against me,” wrote Wadia. “It is therefore obvious that the only purpose of your explanatory statement, which was not required under law as stated by you was with the sole purpose of defaming me.”
In the letter on 24 November, Tata Sons’ legal counsel asked Wadia to withdraw his legal threats against the firm, calling them “misconstrued”. It said its notice seeking his removal was issued in line with its legal rights.
The Tata Sons letter went on to charge that Wadia’s correspondence was “an attempt to try and carry on a media trial on the defamation notice”.
It denied the firm’s special notice constitutes personal vendetta against him or that it was a vindictive action.
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In his latest letter, Wadia also reiterated that as independent director, he owed his fiduciary duty to all stakeholders of Tata Steel, and not to Tata Sons alone, or “undefined ‘Tata Group’ or ‘Tata companies’”.
The war of words between Wadia and Tatas started after boards where he was independent director either supported Mistry or took collective responsibility for decisions.
Tata Sons called for extraordinary general meetings at these firms to seek their ousters as directors, leading Wadia to describe the move to seek his expulsion as “false, defamatory, baseless and libellous”.