Sebi examines Infosys whistleblower letter on Panaya

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Mumbai | Bengaluru: Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has begun a preliminary examination of the allegations made by a whistleblower over inconsistency of Infosys board in Panaya acquisition. The markets regulator also has accepted a consent plea to settle charges of disclosure lapses by Infosys over the severance package paid to former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal.

On Saturday, the anonymous whistleblower, who had earlier claimed to be an Infosys insider, asked market regulators in India and the US to take action against the Infosys board for its inconsistency within a year from defending the acquisition of Panaya and finally giving an approval to sell the company. In a letter, the person sought accountability of the board in this issue.

The regulator would take future course of action after concluding the preliminary enquiry based on the whistleblower’s letter, people familiar with the development said. The same people also said that they have concluded discussions on the consent plea — for failing to disclose to the regulator the severance pay of Rs 17.38 crore paid to Bansal — by Infosys which in December had submitted a settlement agreement “based on an undertaking that the applicant will neither admit nor deny the findings of fact or conclusion of law”. They said that a formal order was yet to be issued. ET Now Channel first reported the development of the Sebi consent plea on Monday.

Bansal was sacked over differences with then chief executive Vishal Sikka over the acquisition of Israeli technology firm Panaya for $200 million.

The failure to take the approval of the nomination and remuneration committee and the audit committee of the Infosys board in arriving at the settlement had raised doubts over corporate governance in the company. The whistleblower had first raised the issue in February last year. Following, Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy raised concerns over failure in adhering to disclosure norms, which triggered a public spat between the founder and then chairman R Seshasayee. Both Sikka and Seshasayee quit Infosys in August last year, paving way to the return of cofounder Nandan Nilekani at the helm as chairman.

Source: Economic Times