Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Subramanian Swamy on Friday sought a multi-agency investigation against Tata Sons’ interim chairperson Ratan Tata for alleged money laundering, reported IANS. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to form a special investigation team consisting of officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Swamy accused Ratan Tata of committing criminal offences in various deals and cited former Tata Sons’ chairperson Cyrus Mistry’s letter to the company directors to substantiate his allegations. In the letter to Modi, the MP wrote, “The commission of offences are under Sections 120-B (conspiracy), 403 (dishonest misappropriation of public funds), 405 (criminal breach of trust) and 415 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, prima facie documented in Mistry’s letter.” He told a news channel, “Ratan Tata must be investigated for money laundering regarding the setting up of Air Asia-Vistara.”
On October 26, Mistry in his letter had claimed the conglomerate faced $18 billion (Rs 1.15 lakh crore) in write-downs or reduction in value of assets. The letter said he had inherited “debt-laden” ventures of Indian Hotels Co, Tata Motors Ltd’s passenger-vehicle operations, Tata Steel Ltd’s European business, and part of the group’s power unit and its telecommunications subsidiary during his tenure as chairperson.
His step came two days after the board decided to push Mistry out after a massive fallout, with Tata’s shares falling and the company anticipating legal action by the former executive. Ratan Tata has taken over Mistry’s post temporarily, the company said. The Tatas also filed caveats seeking a notice from Mistry “fearing legal action” against their move to dismiss him from the post after four years. A caveat is a preventive measure that disallows courts from hearing matters without both parties being notified about them first.