I asked Cyrus Mistry not to chair board meet, but he didn’t respond: Bhaskar Bhat

Bhat said the statement of independent directors was exactly the opposite of what he said at the meeting and it was not shown to the board.

Written by George Mathew | Mumbai | Published:November 12, 2016 2:02 am
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Bhaskar Bhat who quit as the director of Tata Chemicals said he had told Cyrus Mistry not to chair the board meeting of the company on Thursday but he didn’t respond to the request.

Bhat said the statement of independent directors was exactly the opposite of what he said at the meeting and it was not shown to the board. “I requested him not to chair Thursday’s board meeting and told him let an independent director chair the meeting. But he didn’t say yes or no. Mistry was replaced as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24. Normally the chairman of Tata Sons is also the chairman of Tata Chemicals. During the last 17 days, many things transpired in the group… there’s lot of acrimony between both sides,” Bhat told The Indian Express. Bhat is the MD of Titan Company and a Tata loyalist.

According to Bhat, risks for the company have also risen in the 17 days. “When he was replaced as the chairman of Tata Sons, he should have resigned as the chairman of Tata Chemicals to mitigate the risks. The statement of independent directors put on the website is exactly the opposite of what I said at the meeting. The statement was not shown to the board,” Bhat said. “I expressed in the board meeting regarding the threat the firm faces on account of loss of confidence of the promoter in the chairman of the company. The risks were connected with the fracture of the relationship with Tata Sons,” he said. Bhat said the company executives on the board also raised the risks that the company was likely to face.

Bhat refused to comment about Nusli Wadia’s stand in the meeting. “It’s a great board. I respect the board and Mistry is a good person. There was no need for independent directors to make a statement… but they have the right. They did not take into account my views,” he said.

On Thursday, Tata Chemicals had said that after due deliberations, independent directors recalled and reaffirmed their earlier assessment and evaluation carried out in 2015 and 2016 of the chairman, the board, and its functioning. “The independent directors referred to the minutes of the above meetings outcome of which was with the entire Board at that time. The independent directors also considered the subsequent statement made by the Board in the Annual Report in which the Board recommended and sought the support (of all shareholders) for confirmation of Mistry’s re-appointment at the AGM held on August 11, 2015 and noted that the same was approved by 97.64 per cent of the votes cast.”

“Considering the above the independent directors unanimously affirmed their confidence in the board, its chairman and the management in the conduct of the company’s business,” it said.