Infosys Now Faces Anonymous Plaint on Governance
Complainant writes email to Sebi & US SEC
Bengaluru: An anonymous complainant has written an email to regulators — Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) — alleging that the Infosys board has not addressed “serious corporate governance issues and conflict of interest issues related to” Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka.
ET received a copy of the email on Sunday, marked to two other publications apart from the regulatory bodies. Infosys, India’s second-largest IT company, is publicly listed on stock exchanges in India and the US. The complainant, who claims to be an employee, said he or she is willing to talk to regulators and reveal all information. “But, I want to be protected as a whistleblower,” the email stated.
Infosys denied the allegations calling them “false, malicious and defamatory.” “Infosys takes any whistleblower complaint seriously and there is due process to investigate any complaint that comes to us. If we do receive any query either directly or from the regulatory authorities, we will respond to it as per the due process,” said the company in a statement.
ET did not receive replies to queries on the development sent to Sebi and the SEC at the time of going to print. The email from the complainant cites Infosys’ $200-million acquisition of Panaya as a conflictof-interest issue. On February 13, 2017, based on four independent sources, ET reported that former chief financial officer (CFO) Rajiv Bansal was unhappy about the buyout in the period prior to his exit.
The February 19 email is the first such letter directly received by ET. On Friday, ET had reported that Sebi will seek a response from Infosys on several issues raised on the payout to the Bansal and the acquisition of Panaya, after they recei-
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
ved an anonymous letter earlier that week. “We will examine the response from the company on the letter Sebi has received and see if there is any violation of securities laws,” a senior SEBI official had told ET. “We are closely monitoring the developments.”
Infosys denied any wrongdoing in the Panaya acquisition. “With regard to Panaya’s acquisition, a third-party valuation was done by Deutsche Bank, and the price at which the company was acquired was within the band recommended by them,” Infosys said in its statement.
In a press conference on February 13, the board backed Sikka. On Panaya, the Infosys CEO said that there was no wrongdoing during the acquisition. “There is nothing wrong. He (Rajiv Bansal) was CFO at the time we went through the process. It was the first time we were doing it, so we were extra careful.”