Ratan Tata, interim chairman of the Tata group of industries. Photo: AFP/The Times of India

The ongoing battle for control of Tata Group, India’s largest conglomerate, is becoming more acrimonious by the day.

The latest war of words follows an allegation by ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry that interim chairman Ratan Tata wanted to sell the group’s software arm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), to IBM during his first chairmanship in the early 1990s.

Coming to Ratan Tata’s defense is F.C. Kohli, the 92-year-old former chief executive and deputy chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), who is also known as the father of India’s technology revolution.

According to financial daily Business Standard, Kohli said, “At no point in time was there ever an intention of the Tata Group to sell TCS to IBM.”

Reacting to this, Mistry said he did not want to take issue with Kohli, but maintained that it was Ratan Tata’s intention and not that of the Tata Group to sell the software company to IBM.

On Tuesday, Mistry had said that Ratan Tata, who was then head of a joint venture of Tata Industries and IBM, had approached J.R.D. Tata, the founder of several Tata Group companies including TCS, with a proposal from IBM to buy out TCS when Kohli was hospitalized with a cardiac condition.

Last month Tata Sons ousted Mistry without explanation, although it was widely reported the holding company was unhappy with some of Mistry’s decision, such as the sale of assets across group companies.