Cyrus Mistry Says Venkataramanan’s Defence In AirAsia Matter Lacks Merit
Ousted Tata Sons Ltd. Chairman Cyrus Mistry said R Venkataramanan, being probed along with other people by the Central Bureau of Investigation, can’t claim that he had no role in the affairs of AirAsia India Ltd.
Venkataramanan has been involved in the matters of AirAsia India since its inception, Mistry said in a statement. “Therefore, his weak excuse that he was only a non-executive director without any responsibility is totally without any merit.”
He had many roles including that of executive assistant to Ratan Tata at the time of the formation of the company, Tata Sons’ nominee on the Board, and that of a shareholder with a 1.5 percent stake in the company, Mistry said in his letter.
The CBI on Tuesday booked AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes, Venkataramanan and others for bribing unnamed government officials to obtain a flying permit for AirAsia India and to start international flights from the first day. The airline is a joint venture between AirAsia Berhad and Tata Sons Ltd.
The non-executive director of AirAsia India had yesterday refuted charges made against him by the CBI, and denied wrongdoing calling allegations against him “baseless”. “I have been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where I had little or no role to play,” he said in an emailed statement.
Tata Trusts control about two-thirds of Tata Sons Ltd., the parent of the Tata Group.
Venkataramanan had said that accusations against him find their roots in “baseless allegations” made by Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against Tata Trust trustees and Tata Sons in their “revenge” legal actions.
Mistry, however, said the board of Tata Sons and the Tata trustees need be concerned over the decline in governance standards at AirAsia India. He claimed a few individuals with alleged questionable motives were bringing disrepute to the Tata brand.
The actions or lack thereof that the board of Tata Sons and the Tata Trustees may take, will define their commitment to upholding the value system enshrined by the group’s founders.Cyrus Mistry