Bengaluru, Sep 1 Terming Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy’s charges against him “patently false”, the IT giant’s former non-executive Chairman R. Seshasayee on Friday said it was offensive to give an impression that he had lied to the shareholders.
“Murthy’s statement to the investors forces me to issue this statement to defend myself against personal attacks and patently false and slanderous accusations,” said Seshasayee in a joint statement with Infosys Board’s former Independent Directors Jeffery Lehman and John Etchemendy.
“Since my resignation from the Board, I kept away from making any public statement, despite provocations, since I want the company to move forward, and not be bogged down with the issues of the past,” he said.
Seshasayee, 69, resigned from the Board on August 24 along with Executive Vice-Chairman and former CEO Vishal Sikka, Lehman and Etchemendy to pave way for the return of co-founder Nandan Nilekani as the non-executive Chairman eight years after he left the company in 2009.
Asserting that he was always candid and truthful in all statements concerning the IT major, Seshasayee said Murthy’s statement misleadingly attributes words to him and were taken completely out of context, making it appear that he was not stating the truth.
“To quote an anonymous whistle-blower letter that alleged many things, which have subsequently been proved baseless and false through multiple investigations by highly respected counsel, in order to give an impression to the audience that I lied to the shareholders, is patently offensive,” said Seshasayee.
Accusing Murthy of taking the statements of Lehman and another Independent Director, Roopa Kudva, from a private conversation as out of context, Seshasayee said it was regrettable that the founder’s campaign on the alleged governance lapses had slipped into personal attacks and slander.
“I would also like to point out that Murthy invited me to join the Board and entrusted to me the Chair of the Audit Committee, while he was still the Chairman. In February, much after the alleged lapses took place, Murthy issued a statement saying that I was a man of high integrity. I am therefore at a loss to understand the motivation for this persistent vendetta against me,” he added.
Etchemendy claimed that Seshasasayee was a man of impeccable integrity and although faced with unfair, false and outrageous attacks, he had responded with honesty and forthrightness.
“He (Seshasayee) has been an inspiration to his fellow Board members and the real moral compass of the company for the past three years. I am conversant with details of (former CFO) Rajiv Bansal issue and state that at no point did Seshasayee said anything in public or in private that was untrue or did not reflect the Board’s collective view,” said Etchemendy in the joint statement.
Echoing Etchemendy, Lehman said he had the privilege of serving on the Board for over 11 years under different chairs.
“During his tenure, Seshasayee devoted to ensuring that the Board comply with all applicable principles of law and governance. An anonymous, so-called ‘whistle-blower’ made outrageous charges against the management; the Board engaged outside counsels and investigators of repute who have determined that every charge was false and without any foundation,” Lehman said.
“For the good of Infosys, I wish Murthy would stop quoting those lies as if they were reputable and stop defaming Seshasayee and other members of a Board who have served with dedication and integrity and turned the other cheek when slandered and who have acted in the best interests of the company,” added Lehman.