Ratan Tata steps down from Haldia board

Kolkata: Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and Shyamal Gupta, the other Tata group representative on the board of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL), have stepped down from the HPL board.

Confirming this during a brief interaction with the media at the state secretariat here, Tata said this was done recently. Tata and Gupta of Tata International were the two group representatives on the HPL board a company in which the Tatas have a 14-per cent holding.

The Tata group chief, who along with HPL chairman Tarun Das, had an hour-long session with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said HPL was not discussed during the interaction.

Tata, who was here to attend the AGM of Tata Tea, said it was decided that HPL will pay back to Tata Tea the Rs 12 crore that it had taken as an advance after Tata Tea withdrew from HPL nearly seven years back. The loan, which has remained unserviced till now, figured at nearly every AGM of TTL with shareholders demanding to know as to what their company was doing to get back the money.

Tata said it has now been decided that the Tatas will get back Rs 1 crore every quarter. The payment has already started.

Although these events were being seen as the first concrete steps in the exit of the Tatas from HPL, Bhattacharjee was unwilling to discuss the issue, although he admitted that the pricing of the share that the Tatas would sell to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) is one of the major issues.

HPL is a three-way joint venture between Purnendu Chatterjee of Chatterjee Petrochem (Mauritius), WBIDC and the Tatas, with WBIDC and the Chatterjee group being equal partners in the company and the Tatas holding a minority share.