Asserting that he was not being pushed out as Chairman of the USD 71 billion conglomerate Tata Group, Ratan Tata said that he opted out of the selection committee to avoid giving the impression that he is influencing the succession plan.
"I don't want to leave the company in a wheel chair or in a box," Ratan Tata told a television news channel in an interview.
"The company is not pushing me out. It is my desire," he said.
The comments come in the backdrop of Tata Group's holding company, Tata Sons, looking for a successor to Ratan Tata. The next chairman's name is expected to be finalised by March, 2011.
In August, a five-member panel was set up to search for a successor, for which Ratan Tata's half-brother Noel Tata is speculated to be a strong contender.
"I have chosen to stay off that (search) committee... the committee has the freedom to examine and not have anyone feel that I am driving the succession plan," Ratan Tata said.
The search process would be conducted by the committee comprising former Tata Sons Vice Chairman N A Soonawala, senior group directors R K Krishnakumar and Cyrus Mistry, group adviser and lawyer Shirin Bharucha and influential British businessman Lord Bhattacharya.
"I think in the course of this coming year, a suitable person will be announced...," Ratan Tata said in the interview.
Ratan Tata, who will retire as chairman in December, 2012, said that he "is looking forward to freedom to find time to do things that I always wanted to do".