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Power, wealth not my main stakes: Ratan Tata

Last updated on: February 11, 2011 12:31 IST

Power, wealth not my main stakes: Ratan Tata

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Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata has said that power and wealth are not his two main stakes and ruled out joining politics after his retirement in 2012.

"I will certainly not join politics. I would like to be remembered as a clean businessman who has not partaken in any twists and turns beneath the surface, and one who has been reasonably successful," Tata said in an interview to Fortune India magazine.

"Power and wealth are not two of my main stakes," the chief of the $72-billion conglomerate said.

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Image: Ratan Tata, Tata Group chairman.

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Talking about the leaking of tapes containing his conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, Tata said, "It's difficult, but more than that, it's hurtful."

"In the United States, the NSA and the FBI do not hand out those conversations so that a mayor talking to his mistress has his marital problems aired. That is like what you expect in some little republic," he said.

Earlier in November last year he had said, "Stop this sort of banana republic kind of attacks on whoever one chooses to attack on a basis unsubstantiated, even before the person has, what I consider, every Indian's right namely to be considered innocent until found guilty in a court of law, not on the street, not in this way."

"I didn't use it (the term 'Banana Republic') lightly," Tata said.

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Image: Ratan Tata with his pets.
Photographs: Courtesy, Outlook Business
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He later moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to probe the leakage of tapes containing his private conversations with Radia, and stop further publication of the same.

"What are we doing as a country? We are convicting people, alleging things, almost sentencing them before they're proven guilty, and without any proof -- just on the basis of hearsay and phone conversations," Tata wondered in the Fortune interview.

"In my case, I am saying that people are authorised to have surveillance on certain people for national security or otherwise," he observed.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"If you have to prosecute, you prosecute. That is your business," he said.

Tata, whose term as chairman is set to end in December, 2012, said he will exit before if he did not like his successor selected by the five-member panel.

"The committee says it will have the shortlist early this year. They have representatives from the trust and Tata Sons. I have no veto power on the trust. If I do not like it, I will leave early," Tata said.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Tata said that if his successor was an insider, then the person would come on board and both could work together for a while. "If it is an outsider, it would take a longer period for him or her to disengage from wherever they are,'' he said.

A five-member search panel had been formed to find Tata's successor comprising people from Tata Sons and Tata trusts.

Recounting his experience at Tata Sons chairman, he said that the bidding operations in acquisitions of Jaguar-Land Rover and Corus had been most rewarding.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"I think both these bidding operations in acquisition terms have been among the most rewarding..."

"Also the Nano Not just the launch of Nano, but the whole process culminating in the launch. I can't say what was more rewarding. The reaction the Nano evoked on the day of its launch was emotionally moving for me," Tata said.


Photographs: Courtesy, Outlook Business
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