Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, the second largest software company in India, has denied any wrongdoing in the $200 million acquisition deal of Panaya.
After meeting the media on Monday, Sikka described the whistleblower’s letter as “a direct, reckless, malicious, slanderous and personal attack on me by diabolical minds.” He further added that “I will not tolerate it. It is unacceptable. If somebody attacks me personally, we will follow whatever legal recourse we have to.”
The letter, which Sikka is refering to, alleges that former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal was paid a massive Rs 17.4 crore as severance in exchange for his silence on accounting practice and an overseas acquisition.
However, Vishal Sikka denied that former CFO Rajiv Bansal had raised red flags during the Panaya acquisition. Several reports suggests that Bansal had expressed reservations about the Panaya deal, which led to him leaving the organisation with a severance package of Rs 17.38 crore. Commenting on this, Vishal Sikka said,
There is nothing there. He was CFO at the time we went through the process. It was the first time we were doing it, so we were extra careful. My view is that too big a deal has been made out of Rajiv Bansal’s severance, David’s (Kennedy) severance, my compensation and Punita’s (Kumar-Sinha) appointment.
Earlier, Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy questioned the high severance payouts made by the company (since June 2015) saying “such payments raise doubts whether the company is using such payments as hush money to hide something.”
There is also a debate about possible conflict of interest regarding the Panama acquisition. At the time of acquisition, the company was in a severe state of crisis and had laid off employees, and it was on the verge of shutting down. However, the price paid by Infosys meant the company was valued six times its revenue.
The list of investors in the company includes the Benchmark Capital and Battery Ventures, alongside Hasso Plattner Ventures. Haim Shani and Moshe Lichtman’s Israel Growth Ventures came into the company at the last minute before the exit, investing $20 million.
Vishal Sikka used to report to Hasso Plattner at SAP. At Infosys, Sikka has hired several ex-SAP executives like Michael Reh, Ritika Suri and Abdul Razack. Following capital infusion in Panaya in January 2015, Infosys acquired the company a month later.