A disagreement between the board of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons and its former chairman has escalated after executives hit back at claims made in a leaked private email.
Tata Sons' management today said the email from Cyrus Mistry, who was sacked suddenly on Monday, was full of "unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations".
In a confidential message to the Tata Sons board of directors dated 25 October, Mistry said Tata Steel Europe was among five unprofitable businesses that could prompt $18bn (£14.7bn) worth of writedowns at the parent company.
He also claimed he had been made a "lame duck chairman" and had been sacked without reason.
In response, Tata Sons lashed out at Mistry, saying his tenure had been "marked by repeated departures from the culture and ethos of the group" and that he had "overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the members of the board of directors for a combination of several factors" to do with his handling of the business.
The firm added:
It will be beneath the dignity of Tata Sons to engage in a public spat with regard to the several unfounded allegations appearing in his leaked confidential statement. These allegations are not based on facts or the true state of affairs.
There is a multitude of records to show that the allegations made by Cyrus Mistry are unwarranted and these records will be duly disclosed before appropriate forums, if and when necessary, sufficiently justifying the decision made by responsible boards of directors, of Tata Sons and its group companies.