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Despite whistle-blower 'distraction' Infosys getting large deals: Nilekani

Anonymous whistle-blowers last month alleged that Chief Executive Officer Salil Parekh used 'unethical practices' to boost revenue and profit in recent quarters

Ari Altstedter | Bloomberg 

Infosys panel may summon CEO, CFO & finance team over whistleblower charges

Ltd., the Indian software maker that’s battling whistle-blower allegations about its finances, sought to assure investors that the accusations have had little impact on the company’s ability to win contracts.

Anonymous whistle-blowers last month alleged that Chief Executive Officer Salil Parekh used “unethical practices” to boost revenue and profit in recent quarters. The whistle-blowers also said recent big deal wins may have come with negligible margins. They asked the board of the Indian company to investigate and take action, offering to provide emails and voice recordings to support their allegations.

“Customers are supportive, we have proactively reached out” to clients, Chairman said on a call with analysts on Wednesday. Despite the “distraction” the company has complete focus on the business, he said, adding that Parekh informed him about a “large deal” recently.

The second whistle-blower attack in as many years dented investor confidence in Asia’s second-most valuable software exporter, and sent a gauge of 30-day historical volatility for its shares soaring to the highest since 2013. A previous complaint triggered the exit of then CEO Vishal Sikka after a confrontation with co-founder Narayana Murthy.

The company’s shares rose 2.4% to Rs 712.90, set for the highest close since Oct. 18, at 1:30 p.m. in Mumbai. Gains in the stock helped the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex reverse losses of as much as 0.5%.

Little evidence of wrong-doing has emerged publicly so far. pledged a full investigation last month and Nilakeni on Wednesday refused to say when the probe will be completed.

“We stuck with our buy call on even when the whistle-blower complaint came to light,” said Gaurang Shah, senior vice president at Geojit Financial Services Ltd. “We don’t expect this to have any material impact on its working capabilities. The transformation happening with the group is for the good.”

Still, the number of such complaints surged during Sikka’s and Parekh’s reigns, covering a plethora of topics. Moneycontrol.com in a report alleged that a founder was behind the latest complaints. Infosys in a filing to exchanges said that anonymous sources are making “mischievous insinuations” against the company’s co-founders and former executives.

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 13:53 IST
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