An RSS-linked journal's "personalised attack" on not only Infosys Ltd but also "some of its esteemed founders" over glitches in handling India's tax portals is "absolutely condemnable", Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told NDTV today.
The piece by Panchjanya, a journal with deep roots in the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had questioned whether an "anti-national" conspiracy could be behind the glitches on tax-filing websites handled by Infosys.
"This entire issue is unprecedented, unwarranted and atrocious. Whatever problems the Finance Ministry may have with Infosys on the GST platform or the income tax platform, it's between the Finance Ministry and Infosys to resolve," Mr Ramesh said. "But for an RSS publication to resort to a personalised attack on not only the company but also some of the most esteemed founders of the company, I think it is absolutely condemnable," Mr Ramesh told NDTV today.
"In fact, the article is anti-national," the Congress leader said. "I find it personally demeaning to see Narayana Murthy being attacked the way he was attacked. If I were to name who are the three or four makers of modern, entrepreneurial India, Narayana Murthy would be among the top... For him to be accused of supporting Naxalites, tukde-tukde gang, the Left liberals, this is completely bogus. But this is par for the course as far as RSS or BJP is concerned," Mr Ramesh said.
In the latest edition of the journal, a four-page cover story on the Bengaluru-based firm founded by Narayana Murthy asked whether "anti-national power is trying to hurt India's economic interests through it". The RSS has distanced itself from the piece. Its spokesperson Sunil Ambekar tweeted that the views expressed in the piece are not of the organisation's but of the author's.
As an Indian company, Infosys has made seminal contribution in 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. @editorvskbharat— Sunil Ambekar (@SunilAmbekarM) September 5, 2021
"This is typical of RSS. Why did they allow the article to appear? It is a four-page article, a personalised article, which has appeared in their mouthpiece. I am afraid the defence by the RSS just doesn't hold any water," Mr Ramesh said, hours after the RSS spokesperson tweeted that Panchjanya is not their mouthpiece.
Panchjanya's editor Hitesh Shankar said the publication "stands firm" with the report.
3) Some elements are mentioning RSS in this episode due to vested interests. Remember, this report is not related to the Sangh, the report is about Infosys. It is a matter of facts and facts relating to the incompetence of the company.#Infosys@email@example.com/hNGU2HYVgO— Hitesh Shankar (@hiteshshankar) September 5, 2021
Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a meeting with Infosys CEO Salil Parekh expressed "deep disappointment" over persistent glitches on the new income tax portal set up by the company and gave him till September 15 to resolve all issues.
"The attack by the RSS publication coming after a similar attack on Tata by no less than a person like Piyush Goyal, who is Industry and Commerce Minister, shows that the relationship between this government and the industry is a relationship between this government and a few cronies. It's not a healthy relationship between government and business," Mr Ramesh told NDTV.