Companies need to be forthcoming on allaying specific concerns after whistleblower allegations and not resort to "rhetoric" like invoking god to defend, former Infosysian TV Mohandas Pai said on Thursday. The comments come in the wake of the scrutiny at Infosys following yet another whistleblower allegation on the veracity of the accounts, and chairman Nandan Nilekani's assertions that even god cannot change the accounts at Infosys. Even Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi was not very enthused with Nilekani's statement on November 8, saying only god or Nilekani himself can comment on the same. "Ask him or ask god...investors can draw their own conclusions. Whatever we have to do, we are doing," Tyagi told reporters a day after Nilekani vouched the veracity of the numbers at an investor concall.
"These are all rhetorical statements like trusting god, Pai, who was a chief financial officer at Infy, told PTI on the sidelines of an event organised by a former Sebi chairman M Damodaran. "You can't make it a bland statement on 'we have done this and we are following that process' because people are concerned over the concerns," Pai said, adding the specific concerns needs to be allayed. He said the board has to decide on the "materiality" of a particular complaint and decide whether to disclose the same or not. It should also be aware of the power of social media, and arm itself with concrete data to address the concerns, and communicate the same to stakeholders, he said. Matters like sexual harassment, conduct of the chief executive or related-party transactions have to be addressed with utmost urgency, he said, and pointed out that since whistleblowers fill the information asymmetry, they are an important aspect of corporate governance.
Earlier this month, an unidentified whistleblower had alleged that Infy chief executive Salil Parekh and chief financial officer Nilanjan Roy were fudging numbers to show better revenue and margins.
Pai also supported Sebi's call on segregating the posts of chairmen and MDs of listed companies.