15 February 2017 07:55:40 IST

2 months after investing in Ola, Ratan wanted Tata Motors to pursue deal with the cab firm

Ratan was only concerned about Tata Motors’ slow decision making, says Tata group

Nearly two months after Ratan Tata invested in Ola, he had asked then Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry to vigorously pursue a proposal to sell Tata Motors’ vehicles to the online taxi aggregator.

Ratan, in a letter, which is now part of Mistry’s filing with the National Company Law Tribunal, also questioned the slow decision-making at Tata Motors.

In June 2015, Tata had invested in Ola, which competes in India with San Francisco-based Uber, in his personal capacity. The letter, according to sources, was sent to Mistry on September 16, 2015.

Further, it also came at a time when Tata Motors was in discussions with Uber for a similar deal.

However, a Tata group spokesperson said it was incorrect to portray Ratan Tata’s suggestion to engage with Ola as being on account of his investment in the company.

“As his letter, dated September 16, 2015, records, the co-founder of Ola Cabs had approached him (Ratan) and mentioned that he found the response from Tata Motors to Ola Cabs’ proposal to make bulk purchases of taxis to be very slow,” the spokesperson said.

In his letter, Tata mentioned his conversation with Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal and the company’s interest to acquire 10,000 Nanos and Indicas or Indigos.

‘No positive response’

“He (Bhavish) mentioned that while Ola was keen to do the transaction with Tata Motors, there was no positive response from Tata Motors. By contrast, Maruti Suzuki was chasing him every day,” Ratan wrote in the letter, adding that it would be great for the company if proposals from both Ola and Uber could be executed.

In the letter, Ratan also said that Tata Motors should be pursuing the deal with Ola, considering the lack of acceptance of its then-launched Bolt and Zest models.

Alleging that the decision-making process within Tata Motors was extremely slow, Ratan wanted to know why the company was not pursuing the deal.

“Tata’s only concern, which he voiced to Cyrus P Mistry, was that Tata Motors should act swiftly and pursue such a proposal aggressively so as to improve the sales of Tata Motors.

In fact, his letter clearly states that Tata Motors should endeavour to pursue Uber if it prefers the proposal from Uber. It is unfortunate that his concern for Tata Motors would be coloured with a taint of ulterior motives on his part,” the Tata group spokesperson added.