On the specific question of the shareholders agreement, Rajeev Jhawar did not comment since the matter is with the NCLT.
He, however, countered his cousin’s argument, saying the understanding was that professionals would run the steel business after the managing director left in 2014. “We were exploring various ideas, including looking for a CEO or a COO for the steel business. It may be noted that both sides of the family had recruited a COO with experience and since the issue revolved around running the steel plant, the appointment of the COO addressed that, and the idea of hiring a separate CEO was dropped.”
Prashant Jhawar, however, said he had no executive oversight over the COOs and they would report to Rajeev. He added that despite pushing for the appointment of a CEO, and going to New York together with Rajeev Jhawar to meet the prospective candidate, Rajeev decided to let it pass. On Rajeev Jhawar’s claim that he was open to a family settlement, Prashant said no such settlement was offered. "There has been no offer of a settlement from Rajeev. Also, he is trying to make it look like a family dispute, which it is not. It is about questioning the running of the company as well as executing the shareholders agreement,” Prashant Jhawar said.
Prashant Jhawar has also alleged that he was ousted by the board in which his cousin's nominees voted against him, a claim to which Rajeev said he (Prashant) was removed by a resolution proposed by the nominee director of the lenders, which resorted to this extreme step because they felt that his interests were not aligned to that of the company. "The entire board had unanimously decided in favour of the resolution to remove him with me being the lone abstaining member, He has alleged that SBI officials colluded with me to ouster him. The question is, why should an institution like SBI do something like this? Rajeev Jhawar asked.
In a meeting held on Monday, the board of Usha Martin approved the re-appointment of Rajeev Jhawar as managing director for a term of five years, from May 19, 2018 to May 18, 2023. This is, however, subject to shareholders' approval. Prashant and Rajeev Jhawar hold 25.5 per cent each in Usha Martin.