The Tata Group has maintained a squeaky clean reputation.In Indias rather murky corporate world it is supposed to stand out as a honest group Its founder Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata is often given the title of “Father of Indian Industry” .Its reputation may have been dented by the Radia Tapes ,the Salwa Judun controversy and other smaller controversies but it is still managed to keep up the facade of being the benchmark for Indian Corporate Governance
But one nagging historical fact the Tatas have never been able to wash off has been their involvement with the Opium Trade with China and their association with the Jewish Opium trading Sassoon”s and the East India Company
This accusation was picked up by the Independent in the U.K. around the time of the purchase of Corus, and you can find allusions to it in various nooks and crannies on the Web. But none of the critics offered much in the way of reliable sourcing none that is until the Hong Kong Government unexpectedly provided one
It turns out that Hong Kong’s governing body, the Legislative Council, has uploaded to the Web official records dating back to 1884. Included there are the minutes to a Legislative Council meeting held on Friday, March 25, 1887.
During the meeting a group of Hong Kong-based merchants, among whom were included Shellim Ezekiel Shellim, “of the firm of David Sassoon, Sons & Co,” and Ruttonjee Dadabhoy Tata, “of the firm Tata & Co.,” presented a petition “for and on behalf of the Opium Importers and wholesale Opium Merchants of the said Colony.”
They had come to complain about a Bill before the council, titled “An Ordinance for the Regulation of the trade in Opium,” which they believed “would prejudicially affect their trade.”
Ruttonjee Dadabhoy Tata was J.N. Tata’s first cousin, and the father of J.R.D. Tata , who helmed the family business well into the 20th century, before giving way in 1991 to Ratan Tata, his nephew, the current CEO.
AS PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTATION OF (LEGAL) DRUG DEALING ACTIVITY GOES, THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL MINUTES ARE FAIRLY DEFINITIVE.