When co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani attended the Infosys earnings conference on Friday, it was evident that the company was going to announce more than numbers. As the companies disclosed the investigation report into the whistleblower complaints, Nilekani decided to be personally present to answer a volley of questions. Excerpts of what he said:
On the whistleblower allegations:
We received the complaint on September 30 and then, we followed a series of actions. What we have done is the absolute right thing to do. We followed the highest standard of corporate governance and disclosures. If the whistleblower goes to the media, then that is not in our control.
Frequency of whistleblower complaints:
This is the season 3 of this Netflix series (laughs). Obviously, I can’t say if there will be another season of this. I am not the producer of these episodes. Certainly, it is a distraction. Our finance department, which has nine days to close the books, has to deal with this (probe) at the same time.
Possible involvement of disgruntled employees:
If this has been done by disgruntled employees or not, needs to be examined. It could have been done by anybody. It could have been done by employees or possibly by outsiders. I wouldn’t get into conclusion on that. If somebody says ethical employees, then you should think about it. Your (journalist’s) job is not to take anything at face value.
On whistleblowers claiming to be in possession of purported emails and audio files:
As we have said earlier, we don’t have any. If there are any voice mails or emails, they are welcome to give it to us or to the investigators. So, if we don’t receive that, what conclusion we come to. As far as SEC is concerned, they neither confirm nor deny anything (about having access to voice mails, emails). That's why, we are suggesting that they should give it our investigators.
Ongoing investigations by SEC, other regulators:
First of all, we work with a large number of regulators and exchanges. We are fully cooperating in the investigations. Therefore, I will not draw any conjecture. But, we are very comfortable as this has been a thorough investigation.
On his continuance on chairman's role:
As I have always said, I will be here as long as needed. That doesn't change.
Any plan to change whistleblower policy:
We are committed to disclosure levels which have the highest levels of transparency and we will continue to do that. As far as the policy is concerned, we will have a look at it.
In the US, whistleblower has been given a lot of protection and rightly so. However, this policy can be potentially weaponized. Now, this is not an uncommon thing in India that RTI (Right to Information Act) is mostly used by people to find out why the other guy gets promotion. Also, public interest litigations (PILs) are used as ‘private interest litigations’ or ‘publicity interest litigations’.
On continuance of deputy CFO, Jayesh Sanghrajka
Our finance team comprises of good people. As far as I am concerned, Jayesh was here and Jayesh is here.