Tata group forms panel to ascertain facts behind sr journalist and PR pro Charudatta Deshpande’s suicide

03 Jul,2013

By A Correspondent

 

The Tata Group has swung into action to investigate the mysterious circumstances and the allegations related to the sudden suicide of PR professional Charudatta Deshpande, last Friday.

 

A day after the group’s Chief Ethics Officer, Mukund Rajan, had stated that the matter would be taken most seriously, a four-member panel has been constituted to look into the matter.

 

Tata Sons, the group’s apex decision-making body and Tata Steel in a late evening joint statement stated that a committee chaired by Ishaat Hussain, Non-Executive Director of Tata Steel, and including NS Rajan, the group’s Chief Human Resources Officer, and Bharat Vasani, the Group General Counsel, has been constituted to ascertain the facts of the case. Mr Mukund Rajan will also be a part of the panel as Chief Ethics Officer.

 

See also:

Business Standard story: What triggered former Tata Steel official’s suicide: The ‘Mafia’ angle

 

“The committee has been mandated to convey its findings direct to the Board of Tata Steel within the next two months,” the statement said.

 

In a separate incident, Cyrus Mistry has also replied to a letter written last Sunday by a group of friends and former colleagues of Mr Deshpande which had also alleged that Mr Deshpande was harassed when he was working with Tata Steel as its head of corporate affairs and communication.

 

“You have referred in your letter to allegations about how he was treated in the last few weeks before his end. We take these allegations with the utmost seriousness,” wrote Mr Mistry. “Let me assure you the Tata group does not and will not condone any action of the kind insinuated in your letter,” he added.

 

It has been alleged that Mr Deshpande was under severe pressure in Jamshedpur, home to Tata Steel’s biggest steel mill in the country, where his cellphone was allegedly tapped and he was confined to his place of stay. Even after leaving the organisation, Deshpande is believed to have received several threats from what he called a ‘mafia’ — a term he had used repeatedly.

 

Mr Deshpande’s former senior colleague K Ramkumar, an executive director of ICICI Bank, had also written to the Tata top brass on Sunday in his personal capacity.

 

He too had sought for a probe. Separately he had also reached out to his peers across corporate India, seeking collective assistance to demand a thorough investigation.

 

Mr Ramkumar refused to comment if the Tata leadership had responded to his mail. However Tata officials said they do plan to reply at the earliest.

 

The Mumbai Press Club has organised a condolence meeting in memory of Deshpande on July 3.

 

 

 

Source:The Economic Times

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