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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

RSS magazine accuses Infosys of aligning with 'anti-national' forces

In its cover story in the latest edition, Panchjanya cited glitches in the income tax portal managed by the information technology giant to launch a tirade

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 06.09.21, 02:03 AM
The RSS sought to distance itself from the magazine, whose former editors include ex-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and whose current editor is followed on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The RSS sought to distance itself from the magazine, whose former editors include ex-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and whose current editor is followed on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File picture

Panchjanya, a Hindi magazine that is known to echo the views of the RSS, has accused Infosys of aligning with “anti-national” forces to destabilise the Indian economy in comments that complement the “national interest” sermon delivered by Union minister Piyush Goyal to industry recently.

In its cover story in the latest edition, the magazine cited the glitches in the income tax portal managed by the information technology giant to launch a tirade, accusing Infosys of aligning with “Naxals, Leftists and the tukde tukde gang”.

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“But, when same type of things (the glitches in the portal) happen repeatedly, then it naturally raises suspicion. There are accusations that the Infosys management is deliberately trying to destabilise the Indian economy,” says the report, titled “Saakh aur Aaghat (Reputation and Harm)”.

The RSS sought to distance itself from the magazine, whose former editors include ex-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and whose current editor is followed on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The attack, which followed commerce and industry minister Goyal’s swipe at the Tatas last month, lends credence to accusations that the current regime appears to be openly targeting non-Ambani, non-Adani industry giants.

The Modi government has been accused by the Opposition and many others of promoting the worst kind of crony capitalism by backing a handful of Gujarat-based industry houses Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had summoned Infosys CEO Salil Parekh last month and given the company time till September 15 to fix the glitches in the income tax portal.

As the Panchjanya report kicked up dust, Sunil Ambekar, chief of the RSS publicity wing, tweeted: “Panchjanya is not a mouthpiece of the RSS and the said article or the opinions expressed in it should not be linked with the RSS.”

Ambekar went on to acknowledge Infosys’s “seminal contribution” to the progress of India. “As an Indian company, Infosys has made seminal contribution in the progress of the country. There might be certain issues with a portal run by Infosys but the article published by Panchjanya in this context only reflects individual opinion of the author,” he tweeted.

Technically, the two weekly magazines, Organiser in English and Panchjanya in Hindi, may not qualify as mouthpieces of the RSS but people associated with the Sangh head the publications.

Panchjanya editor Hitesh Shankar stood by the report. “Panchjanya stands firm with its report. If Infosys has objections, it should present its side by urging for a more thorough investigation of these facts (raised in the article) in the interest of the company,” he told The Telegraph, underscoring that there was a lot of anger among people over the glitches.

Asked about the RSS distancing itself from the magazine, Shankar said: “Some elements are mentioning the RSS in this episode due to vested interests. Remember, this report is not related to the Sangh, the report is about Infosys.”

On Twitter, Modi has been following Shankar from May this year. “Thank you @narendramodi ji. It shows your concern to understand people’s pulse. It is an honour!” Shankar had tweeted in reply to Modi following him.

The Modi government and the BJP maintained silence on the attack on Infosys. The company did not respond to questions from this newspaper on the report in the magazine.

Although Shankar referred to “facts”, the Panchjanya report itself said that it did not have “concrete evidence” to back the accusations. But the report added that “history and circumstances” give weight to the allegations.

In “history and circumstances”, the article again banks on accusations without citing any evidence. “Infosys is accused of providing assistance to Naxals, Leftists and the tukde tukde gang,” the report said, claiming that the company “directly or indirectly” extends financial assistance to some web portals, calling them “divisive forces”.

“Shouldn’t Infosys promoters be asked what is the reason for the company’s funding of anti-national and anarchist organisations?” the article asked and wanted to know whether Infosys should be allowed to participate in the government tendering process.

Picking on the two key figures behind the formation of the company, the report said Nandan Nilekani had contested elections on a Congress ticket and N.R. Narayana Murthy was known for his views against the “ideology of the current regime”.

These were presented as “history and circumstances” to back the allegations of Infosys aligning with anti-national forces. The report accused Infosys of hiring Left sympathisers for important positions.

Last month, Union minister Goyal had said while addressing the annual conference of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai: “A company like yours, just because you bought one or two foreign companies, their importance becomes greater than national interest?”

Goyal’s question was seen as aimed at the Tatas, possibly for opposing the e-commerce rules proposed by his ministry.

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