Declaring his unwillingness to take over the reigns of Tata Sons again, Cyrus Mistry, in a statement on Sunday, threw light on the relationship of his family-run Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group and the Tata Group and said that although a minority stakeholder, his family has been a guardian of the Tata Group for over five decades.
He said that the relationship between Tata Group and Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which owns 18.37 per cent stake in Tata Sons, spanned multiple decades and was built on common agreement and mutual faith. Mistry added that as a minority stakeholder, it was in his and SP Group's own interest to ensure the long term success of Tata Group.
"As an 18.37 per cent shareholder, it is in our own interest to ensure the Group's long-term success. My family, although a minority partner, has been a guardian of the Tata Group for over five decades," Mistry said in his statement.
Tata Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, in his petition to the Supreme Court on Friday, had said that SP Group was only a financial investor to Tata Sons and there was no partnership between both Tata Group and the SP Group. He said that the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal's (NCLAT) judgement reinstating Mistry as Tata Son's chairman starts on a "wrong" premise of treating Tata Sons as a "two group company".
"The appellant (SP Group) has been associated with Tata Sons from the year 1965 when the SP Group first became its shareholder. There has never been any relationship akin to a partnership between the 'Tata Group' and the SP Group and the latter has always been a financial investor in the Tata Sons," he said.
Tata further said that SP Group did not hold a seat in the Tata Sons' board, and said that judgment was based on misconceived understanding.
"The Impugned Judgment holds that there was purported comity and mutual relationship between the 'Tata Group' and SP Group until the replacement of Cyrus Mistry as the Executive Chairman of Tata Sons. But such alleged mutual understanding cannot also imply mean that there was a relationship akin to partnership between the 'Tata Group' and the SP Group, where the latter were entitled to a seat on the Board of Tata Sons," Tata said.
Mistry, on Sunday, said that although he would not take up any post on Tata Sons board or that of its companies, he would continue to pursue all options to protect SP Group's rights as minority stakeholder, including the resumption of a seat for his family-run group on the Tata Sons' board.
He also observed that the founding fathers of the Tata Group had laid a strong ethical foundation that cared for all stakeholders and former Tata leaders worked together with the minority partner to create value for all stakeholders.
However, in the last three years, the leadership of the group has shown "scant" respect for the rights of the minority stakeholders, Mistry said.
"In the last three years, both in conduct and in their statements to the world at large, the Tata Group's leadership has shown scant respect for the rights of minority shareholders. It is time the group's management introspects and reflects on its conduct as it embarks on future actions," his statement read.
Mistry said that the legal fight is not about him but for the protection of the rights of minority shareholders and upholding their rights.
"This legal fight has never been about me. It has always been and will always be about protecting the rights of minority shareholders and upholding their right to demand a higher standard of corporate governance from controlling shareholders."
Acknowledging the NCLAT's December 18 verdict, he said: "I am humbled by the NCLAT order, which after review of the enormous material on record, recognised the illegal manner in which I was removed and the oppressive and prejudicial conduct of Tata and other Trustees."
The statement comes just days after Tata Sons and Ratan Tata moved the Supreme Court challenging the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal's December verdict which ordered the reinstatement of Mistry as the Chairman of Tata Sons.
Ratan Tata, in the petition filed in the top court on January 3, had said that that the appellate tribunal's verdict was "erroneous" and it "pulled down" the governance and corporate structure of the group.
Mistry was appointed as the sixth chairman of Tata Group in 2012 but ousted on October 24, 2016.