Is the RTI Act emerging as an instrument to fight boardroom battles?
London-based hedge fund, The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) has written to Coal Secretary Mr. Alok Perti to change the top management of Coal India Limited (CIL), claiming that the company “lacked necessary leadership to develop operationally”.
TCI had used the Right to Information (RTI) Act to obtain a copy of the letter written by the Coal Secretary to N C Jha, the then chairman of CIL on the basis of which TCI alleged that Coal India reversed a decision to raise coal prices on instructions from the government. TCI also alleged breach of fiduciary duties by the directors and threatened legal action. The government of India owns 90 per cent stake while the TCI is the second largest shareholder in CIL, with 1.01 per cent stake.
TCI stated that the Indian government privatised Coal India in order to improve performance, accountability and transparency, however, Coal India is failing its country, its shareholders and consequently, the people of India. In one of its new avatars, the RTI Act is being used to hold the management of a PSU accountable or, is it a new instrument to fight boardroom battles?