Special Correspondent

Narayana Murthy apologises even as Government awaits police report

  • Vatal Nagaraj demands an inquiry by the CBI
  • `He is offering unsolicited advice on Cauvery'

    BANGALORE: Both Houses of the legislature on Tuesday witnessed a heated debate over a statement reportedly made by Infosys Chief Mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy in Mysore on Sunday on the national anthem.

    Some of the senior members labelled him "anti-national" and "anti-Kannadiga" and demanded his arrest.

    Minister for Home M.P. Prakash said that if Mr. Murthy had spoken against the national anthem, as reported in the media, then it deserved to be condemned. The Government was awaiting a report from the Mysore police regarding it and appropriate action would be initiated thereafter, he said.

    In the Legislative Assembly, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh urged the Government to verify the facts prior to taking any action. "However big a person be, he or she should respect the national anthem," he said.

    The former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, "It is the duty of every Indian to respect the national anthem and national symbols. He now believes he is `sarvagna'. He amassed wealth because the Government gave land, skilled manpower and tax concessions. And now, he is offering unsolicited advice to politicians, including the criticism that he made against the protests against the Cauvery tribunal verdict."

    The subject was raised by Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj who labelled Mr. Murthy "anti-national." The Central Bureau of Investigation should investigate the case. He should be arrested and externed from the State as well, he said.

    In the Legislative Council, some ruling and Opposition party members exchanged heated words over Mr. Murthy's statement.

    Some members demanded a separate discussion on the issue.

    Mr. Murthy has apologised for hurting the sentiments of the people over his statement on singing of the national anthem during President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's visit to the Infosys campus in Mysore.

    "If the media statement has hurt anybody's sentiments, I deeply apologise," Mr. Murthy said in a clarification issued by Infosys on Tuesday.