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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Independent directors have been given short end of the stick

A recent news item of what was reported to be a courageous stand by an independent director in performing his duties diligently made him a model in some eyes, and a martyr to others. The independent director wrote a 65-page letter of resignation (25 pages highlighting his reasons and 40 pages of annexures of information) against alleged misdeeds in the governance of the listed company in question.

It was seen as a model stand because many retreat quietly or give vague grounds such as ‘personal reasons’ or ‘other preoccupation’ (SEBI Regulations though now require specific reasons). Here, the independent director narrated in specifics his allegations of wrong doings in the company, and of how he was cornered and bullied.

He was seen as a martyr because such is the fate of independent directors to whom the law keeps largely powerless as individuals. They can only vote with their feet, as their saying goes — or, quit and not cure. It is another thing that the company in question has reverted with a 28-page letter of rebuttal giving its side. Now it may be up to the regulator to go into the real state of affairs.



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