The sacked iGate CEO says he is facing “extortion” by the lawyer who had previously filed a similar case against him years ago.
A day after being sacked from his position as iGate CEO, Phaneesh Murthy claimed on Tuesday that he was a victim of “extortion” by an employee who has filed a sexual harassment case against him. Participating in a 30-minute telephonic media conference from Fremont, California, Mr. Murthy denied he had violated company policy by not disclosing his relationship with his colleague.
Mr. Murthy said he had informed the iGate Chairman of his relationship “many weeks ago.” He admitted that he took this step after his relationship with the colleague, which lasted for a few months, “was over.” However, Mr. Murthy refused to confirm whether he had conveyed to the Chairman the nature of his relationship in writing or verbally.
On the nature of complaint filed by his colleague “late last week,” Mr. Murthy said, he had “not been motivated to see the letter.” Adding that she did not report to him, but to the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Murthy claimed that the complaint had not been filed in court. “I will fight it vigorously if it comes to a court of law,” he said.
Mr. Murthy referred to company rules that stipulate disclosures of “relationships” between employees as “a small note in the employee handbook in the company.” The company had earlier stated that his failure to disclose his relationship “violated” company policy and his employment contract.
However, it stated that its investigation had not “uncovered any violation of iGate’s harassment policy.” Mr. Murthy denied he had violated company policy in any way and said he reserved “all options” after consultations with his legal team. “I was not given an opportunity to present my views to the board,” he claimed. “I have not decided whether to fight my dismissal.”
Mr. Murthy alleged that the same legal firm and lawyer who fought on behalf of the sexual harassment complainant in the Infosys case a decade ago had filed this complaint. “It is without doubt a case of extortion because it is a very easy way to collect money after the first case,” he contended.
Referring to his plight, Mr. Murthy said, “It is about as negative as it gets.” And, responding in a more provocative vein to reporter’s query about how things came to such a pass, he said: “If you can figure out women, let me know.”