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Infosys refutes whistleblower's charges on Panaya deal, Sikka says 'malicious stories' being spread to target him

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka today said false and malicious stories are being spread about the Panaya deal to target him.
India TV Business Desk New Delhi February 20, 2017 23:40 IST
India TV Business Desk

Rejecting any personal interest of any of its executives in USD 200 million Panaya buyout, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka today said "false and malicious" stories are being spread about the deal to target him. 

In a letter to employees, Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka lashed out at detractors for spreading "false and malicious" stories about the company and said they were "designed" to target him to the "point of harassment". 

The company also issued a statement refuting charges by an anonymous whistleblower, who alleged that its executives had personal interests in buying the Israel-based Panaya firm in February 2015.

The tech major asserted that no one from the management team benefitted from the deal. 

In a strongly worded email to Infosys employees, Sikka said the reports questioning the company's acquisition of Panaya are "orchestrated by people who are hell-bent on harming the reputation of the company and its employees". 

In a late evening statement, Infosys said, "We categorically state that no member of the Infosys management team was involved in any prior investments in Panaya, and insinuations that anyone from the management team at Infosys benefitted from this acquisition are misleading and slanderous." 

"We refute the allegations made in the anonymous whistleblower letter. The assertions are libellous and aimed at tarnishing the company's image and its management," asserted the IT major.

The whistleblower is reported to have mailed the letter to the Indian market regulator Securities Exchange of India (Sebi) in Mumbai.

The city-based outsourcing firm acquired the automation technology firm to offer large-scale enterprise software management as a service to its global clients.

The IT giant added that it will investigate the charges made and "will respond to all queries received either directly or from the regulatory authorities" as per its process. 

In February 2015, Infosys had announced buying the Israeli automation technology company for USD 200 million or Rs 1,250 crore in cash. 

A section of media reported about a whistleblower's letter to market regulator SEBI, alleging irregularities in the acquisition of Panaya. 

Referring to the charges, Sikka said "they create a false alternate-reality out of events and dates, with embellishments that are calculated to mislead and sensationalise". 

He added that while these "distractions are expensive, draining and time-consuming", it is Infosys' burden to ensure that the company's business continues "unflinchingly". 

"We cannot let these stand unchallenged, and we will take every step and pursue every avenue to strongly defend the company in the face of these unfair and unwarranted attacks," the Infosys CEO said. 

Sikka is pitted against a clutch of co-founders led by NR Narayana Murthy voicing concerns over a spike in his remuneration and hefty severance packages for two former executives. 

Stating that the company has "far bigger battles ahead", Sikka urged employees to "rise above the distractions, focus on what really matters, and deliver". 

"I am, as always, counting on your faith and unwavering attention to what really matters. Change is never easy, and change at the scale that we are undertaking may be unprecedented, and perhaps it is this change that has so inflamed some into trying to drag us all into the mud," he said. 

Infosys said it has a strong, established internal process to evaluate acquisition targets and make investments. 

(With PTI inputs)