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Cyrus Mistry's removal was necessary for company's success: Tata chairman

Cyrus Mistry's letter is likely to ratchet up an already-ugly war of words between the company and the ousted Tata chairman Photograph: (Reuters)

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Nov 01, 2016, 10.38 AM (IST)

As ousted Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry stepped up his attack, Ratan Tata on Wednesday hit back saying his removal was "absolutely necessary" for the future success of the Tata group.

"The decision to change the leadership of Tata Sons was a well-considered and serious one for its board members. This difficult decision, made after careful and thoughtful deliberation, is one the board believes was absolutely necessary for the future success of the Tata Group," the interim chairman wrote to employees of $100 billion Group.

The letter came shortly after Mistry ratcheted up war of words by rebutting "insinuations" of mishandling a dispute with Japan's NTT DoCoMo, saying Ratan Tata was party to all decisions regarding the telecom venture.

Tata, 78, who retired as Tata group chairman nearly four years back, justified his return for "maintaining stability and continuity of leadership" and promised to give the group "a world-class leader" when a fulltime boss is appointed.

Tata's comments a few hours after ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry said any insinuation that he had mishandled a prolonged dispute with its Japanese telecom partner NTT DoCoMo Inc were baseless.

Docomo legal battle 'approved' by board

On Tuesday, Mistry's office said in an e-mailed statement that all decisions were taken with the unanimous approval of the Tata Sons Board, and with the approval of Ratan Tata and Tata trustee NA Soonawalla.

"To suggest I acted on my own or without knowledge and/or concurrence of Ratan Tata on Docomo deal is false and mischievous," Mistry said.

Mistry's office said the agreement with Docomo had been made much before he took over as the chairman of Tata Sons.

Tata Sons were not immediately reachable for comment.

Docomo fiasco

NTT Docomo, one of the largest mobile phone operators in Japan, had bought a 26.5 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices in November 2009.

At the time of getting into a joint venture, the two parties had agreed that in case Docomo exits within the first five years it would get a minimum 50 per cent of its investment.

Matters took a turn for the worst when Docomo decided to split before the five stipulated years as Tata Sons declined to give the exiting company their share of the investment.

When the international arbitration in London was approached by Docomo, the tribunal directed Tata Sons to pay Docomo $1.17 billion for breach of contract. 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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