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Rediff.com  » Business » Stop 'banana republic' like attacks, Tata to govt

Stop 'banana republic' like attacks, Tata to govt

Last updated on: November 27, 2010 13:13 IST

Stop 'banana republic' like attacks, Tata to govt

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Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata on Friday said the government must stop the 'banana republic kind of attacks', as the real 2G scam was becoming hidden behind a smokescreen.

In his first comments after transcripts of lobbyist Niira Radia's alleged phone conversations with top politicians and journalists were published in two magazines, Tata told news channel NDTV that the real issues that needed to be investigated were "hoarding and out-of-turn allocation of spectrum to important players".

The government should investigate, appoint an auditor and book the guilty under due process of law, he said.

Tata said action should be taken against anyone found guilty of wrong-doing in 2G spectrum scam for which the government should bring in an auditor and have an investigation.

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Image: Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata.
Photographs: Reuters
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Stop banana republic type attacks, Tata to govt

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However, he expressed concern over unsubstantiated media attacks being made apparently on the basis of unauthorised tapes.

"So, I think these are bad times. I wish the government would take a stand, bring in an auditor and have an investigation. Book people who are guilty of something," he said.

An alleged conversation between Tata and Radia also figured in audio recordings posted on the magazines' websites.

Radia's firm, Vaishnavi Communications, handles public relations for the Tata Group. She has been in the eye of a storm ever since the alleged conversations recorded between May 11 and July 11, 2009, appeared in the media.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Stop banana republic type attacks, Tata to govt

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Tata said the media "is going crazy in alleging, convicting and executing" people on the basis of a flood of unauthorised tapes.

"It is a murky time. It's a confusing time for me because just a couple of weeks ago, we were sitting on top of a summit, with President Obama showering praise on what we had done, talking about maturity, talking of us having emerged and not being an emerging force. And then we have somewhat slipped into a series of allegations," he said.

"And then we have somewhat slipped into a morass of series of allegations, unauthorised tapes being flooded, the media going crazy on alleging, convicting, executing. You are literally character assassinating."

The whole thing, he said, in so doing, there has been a smokescreen behind the so-called scam which really is out of turn allocation of spectrum, hoarding of spectrum by important players for free and things of this nature.

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Image: Ratan Tata.
Photographs: Courtesy, Outlook Business
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Stop banana republic type attacks, Tata to govt

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"Stop this sort of banana republic kind of attacks on whoever one chooses to attack on a basis unsubstantiated, even before the person has in, 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.

"Banana Republics are run on cronyism. The danger is that you could degenerate into that kind of atmosphere unless the necessary parts of government play their role in upholding the law. And fine, no one be above the law. I would happily have that happen, whereas certain people might not like to see that happen," he said.

According to him, the government should do its job and the job is "in fact to run the country, to manage the country, to govern the country."

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Image: Niira Radia.

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"And governance is an important thing and not (an) application where it suits one," he added.

Tata said he is seeing evidence of crony capitalism in the country. "I am not in a position to say a lot of it. But it is certainly evident," he said.

Responding to a query on how the Tata Group is managing this kind of situation, he said the group has endeavoured to uphold the value system that has been part of its tradition.

"We have been disadvantaged repeatedly in that we have lost projects, projects have been delayed. But we have stayed that course," Tata said.

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Image: Ratan tata.
Photographs: Courtesy, Outlook Business
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Tata's observations come just days after his recent comments in Dehradun created quite a flutter. Tata had referred to a fellow industrialist, who had called the Tata Group 'stupid' for not meeting what he believed to be the then civil aviation minister's demands, if the group considered getting an airline licence important.

"We do not operate that way. I wanted to go to bed at night knowing that I had not succumbed," Tata had said.

When NDTV mentioned the series of scandals of late, including the Central Bureau of Investigation's unearthing of a corporate loan racket, Tata said: "You know it's a funny thing. Many of these things I believe have been sourced by vested interests, who want to make these connections to make it happen. What such people perhaps forget is that there is bigger issue to the nation."


Photographs: Reuters
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