Marking the first time the Sangh has attempted to brand a leading corporate as aligned with “anti-national,” forces, RSS-affiliated Panchajanya, in its latest edition, has alleged that Bengaluru-based I-T major Infosys may be deliberately trying to destabilise the Indian economy and has accused it of helping “Naxals, Leftists and tukde tukde gang”.
Until now, such vilification has targeted individuals, activists, some sections on campuses and some in the political opposition. Software major Infosys is seen as one of the key blue-chip homegrown pioneers in the economy following the first-generation reforms in IT services.
The weekly has made these allegations in the context of glitches in the new Income Tax e-filing portal developed by Infosys. The website went online on June 7 but has since continued to pose problems for taxpayers. Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman summoned Infosys CEO Salil Parekh and gave the company until September 15 to fix these glitches. Infosys got the contract in 2019.
“Will Infosys provide this same kind of shoddy service to foreign clients,” the article asked.
The article comes when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed next- generation reforms through ambitious privatisation and monetisation targets.
Responding to questions from The Indian Express, Panchajanya Editor Hitesh Shankar said: “The cover story is about a big corporate (Infosys) whose work’s quality is not up to its reputation. This not only hampers the company’s reputation but also causes inconvenience to crores of people…This kind of role and deliveries create dissatisfaction in society. If Infosys is not involved in socially questionable/propaganda funding, it must come out and state the facts…we are writing about the dissatisfaction that has arisen in the society. The company must clarify whether it is a software company or an instrument to engineer social anger.”
RSS spokesperson Sunil Ambekar was not available for comment.
In its cover story “Saakh Aur Aaghaat” (Reputation and Harm), Panchajanya alleged this was not the first time Infosys had bungled a government project. Citing problems in websites for GST and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the article said: “When these things happen repeatedly, it is bound to raise suspicion. There are accusations that the Infosys management is deliberately trying to destabilise India’s economy…Could it be that some anti-national power is trying to harm India’s economic interests through Infosys?”
At the same time, the magazine said it had no concrete evidence to prove this but added that the company’s “history and circumstances,” lend weight to this charge.
“Infosys is accused of providing assistance to Naxals, Leftists and Tukde Tukde Gang. The issue of Infosys directly or indirectly supporting divisive forces in the country has already come out in the open. It is believed (that) misinformation websites…are funded by Infosys. Some organisations that spread caste hatred are also beneficiaries of Infosys’s charity. Shouldn’t Infosys promoters be asked what is the reason for the company’s funding of anti-national and anarchist organisations? Should companies of such suspect character be allowed to participate in government-tendering process?”
It added: “One of the promoters of Infosys is Nandan Nilekani who has contested Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. Company’s founder NR Narayana Murthy’s opposition to the incumbent government’s ideology is not hidden from anyone. Infosys appoints people subscribing to a certain ideology on important posts… If such a company gets important government tenders, wouldn’t there be a threat of influence from China and the ISI?”
The article alleged that glitches in projects contracted to Infosys may be a ploy by the Opposition to ensure that the government is forced to change its policy of giving contracts to Indian companies. This, it said, would hurt the idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat.