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Mody at Tata Steel after 11 years

Jamshedpur, Feb. 13: Russi Mody today returned to Tata Steel after 11 years. But Ratan Tata wasn’t around to greet him.

The former chairman-cum-managing director, who had to step down after a bruising spat with the Tata group head, was present today at the celebrations to mark 75 years of industrial harmony as a guest of Tata Steel.

People who had gathered on the lawns of Tata Steel (works) awaiting the arrival of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were caught by surprise when company officials led Mody to the VIP enclave. As the 86-year-old approached the enclosure, some stood up and surged forward to greet him. Mody (in picture) reciprocated with a broad smile and a warm handshake.

Ratan Tata was not present as he is in China. J.J. Irani, who became managing director after Modi’s departure, was around but was not seen speaking to his predecessor.

Mody, who flew in on a Tata Steel aircraft with Bengal Governor Viren J. Shah, said the company looked “beautiful”.

“It has undergone many changes since I left. There is more greenery within the company now. It looks beautiful.

“I wish I could visit the city more often. But due to my advanced age I cannot travel in trains and there are no planes available to bring me to the city,” he said.

Mody, then 75, was forced to leave Tata Steel in 1993 after Ratan Tata pushed through a policy that made 75 the mandatory retirement age for Tata group chairmen.

The retirement plan devised by Ratan Tata saw the exit of many Tata satraps like Mody and Darbari Seth.

After the bitter break, Mody did not set foot on the premises of the company, though he visited Jamshedpur a few times to pay respects at the grave of his mother and as a candidate for the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat.

The ice appears to have melted somewhat with Tata Steel making him a special invitee. “Mody was not only sent the special invitation card, managing director B. Muthuraman wrote a letter. Muthuraman also spoke to him over the phone,” a company source said.

His presence in the crowd was acknowledged by Kalam. “There are many people responsible for the industrial harmony. Russi Mody is one of them,” he said in his address.

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