Below the line

| Updated on March 29, 2021

Never back down

The five-year-long Tata-Mistry legal battle fought across courts in the country has been adjudicated. But has it come to an end? Not sure.

Per custom, the retiring Chief Justice judge, to keep the slate clean for his successor, pronounced a verdict in this case that has been simmering since 2016 after the scion of the Shapoorji Pallonji family moved the National Company Law Tribunal against his ouster as Tata Sons chairman.

After moving from NCLT to NCLAT and on to the apex court, a verdict has come. But the Mistry camp is said to be thinking of a review petition and other legal recourse. The motto seems to be Never Back Down, a la the Hollywood movie.

Rising even without a call

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s fortunes are linked to its 4G plans, which ironically are mired in a controversy, with the operator now planning a new tender. BSNL employees, represented through a dozen unions, are not keen, as they fear the tender and allied procedures would result in another 2/3-year delay, an “unaffordable” timeframe, with private operators close to launching 5G services.

The alternative, according to the employees, is to upgrade the 4G infrastructure, now.

For this, they are ready to pool in personal funds.

In the past, they have invested “lakhs of rupees” to set up and maintain infrastructure, and in 2019 and 2020 pooled in to fund wages of contract workers.

Employees are ready, yet again, but first the Government must chart out a 4G rollout in 2-3 months from the date of spectrum allocation. For BSNL staff, ‘service before self’ is far more than a motto.

Bharat and its high(ways)

A shepherd with his flock or a baraat of a big fat Indian wedding dancing away on the highway may not know it, but they make India’s exports uncompetitive. At least Shipping Minister Mansukhlal Mandaviya says so. Mandaviya recently pointed out how even good infrastructure sometimes fails in the context of Indian way of life.

A shepherd with his sheep, a wedding party dancing — all peculiar to Indian roads — cannot be seen elsewhere, pointed out Mandaviya, speaking at a CII event. Ergo, a truck is stopped frequently, adding to travel time and logistics costs.

Keep Bharat and its ways in mind while suggesting solutions, Mandaviya reminded.

Deal record

If at all there is a Guinness Record category for the highest number of acquisitions, an Ahmedabad-based conglomerate would win it hands down.

Now, the buzz is that the company is eyeing a state-owned steel plant in Visakhapatnam.

Needless to say there are all round protests against the sale of the plant. But given the company’s much-touted proximity to decision-makers, only time will tell whether Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s claim of “hum do, hamare do” will come true yet again.


Tongue-in-cheek statements are the hallmark of corporate captains.

Tesla chief Elon Musk in a recent tweet said: “If there's ever a scandal about me, please call it Elongate.” Incidentally, Musk invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoins and even decided to sell Tesla vehicles against the cryptocurrency.

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Published on March 29, 2021

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