Nilekani says ‘I’m happy, let’s move on, Murthy!’

Nandan Nilekani, the stand-in chairman of Infosys Ltd today gave his stamp of approval to the investigations conducted in the context of corruption allegations around the IT company, and suggested that the company and its founder Narayana Murthy will be able to develop a ‘trusting relationship’ going forward.

“I am fully persuaded, as is the entire Board, that the conclusions of the independent investigations are correct,” Nilekani said today.

“As the Company moves forward to a more stable environment I am grateful to all the well-wishers of the Company, including Mr. Narayana Murthy, for their deeply held passion for Infosys… Going forward, it is our endeavour to build a trusting relationship with Mr. Murthy,” he added.

The language of the statement suggests that Infosys and Murthy have finally put the allegations of possible wrongdoings by the management behind it, unless Murthy issues any new response to today’s statements.

The corruption allegations were picked up by Narayana Murthy — who has not been actively involved in running the company for years — after they were raised by a whistleblower. These related to the acquisition of an Israel-based company, Panaya, in 2015 and a large severance pay given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal.

Nilekani was recently brought in as someone who is trusted by Murthy after CEO Vishal Sikka stepped down, blaming constant attacks that he said were distracting him and the company.

Nilekani said he examined the files relating to the investigations, and was satisfied with the methodology.

“The review reaffirmed the conclusion of the independent investigation that there was no merit to the allegations of wrongdoing with respect to the acquisition of Panaya,” today’s statement said.

“The review also confirmed that the Company made appropriate and timely disclosures relating to severance payments to the former CFO at the end of the quarter of his resignation.”

He, however, said there was scope for some improvement in the way the company handled severance payments to Bansal, and that adequate steps have been taken for more effective functioning in the future.

“Based on the feedback received, the Company has since December 2016 adopted a practice of disclosing the severance payment to key managerial personnel at the time of their departure, making the disclosures sooner than required. Additionally, the Company has now globally benchmarked its severance pay and revised its senior management employment contracts,” today’s statement said.

Nilekani said he understood the passion behind Murthy’s questions.

“Questions were raised by stakeholders who have a deeply held passion for Infosys. The Board responded with equal passion and good faith,” he said, referring to the spat between Murthy and the company’s board of directors some weeks ago.

“The Board also firmly believes that it is time to put these issues to rest. It seeks the support of all stakeholders to look towards the future, and to collectively focus on strategy, operations, and growth,” he added.

Narayana Murthy had also demanded that the investigation results be made public.

On this topic, Nilekani said he was of the opinion that there was no need for such a step as this would come back to haunt the company later. People who shared information with investigators on the condition that it was all confidential would be inconvenienced if the data is now made public, the company said today.

“After careful re-consideration, the Company has concluded that publishing additional details of the investigation would inhibit the Company’s ability to conduct effective investigations into any matter in the future.

“Confidentiality is critical to ensuring the candor and cooperation of whistleblowers and other participants in any investigative process. The precedent of releasing the full investigation reports could impair the cooperation of participants should the need for an investigation arise in the future,” it said today.