Bengaluru: Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Murty is distraught over the questions being raised about the organisation’s funding pattern.
She hit out at reports that claimed the foundation’s registration had been cancelled under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) for alleged violation of norms in receiving foreign grants.
Speaking to News18 on Tuesday, Murty said fingers were being pointed at the foundation for no fault of its own.
Stating that its de-registration from the FCRA followed a request the foundation had proactively made to the Ministry of Home Affairs two years ago, Murty said, “People don’t read fully. Read. Ask us questions and then hang us.”
Murty, who cut short her trip to the United Kingdom in the light of this controversy, said Infosys wouldn’t dream of finding short-cuts in its functioning even if monetary benefits were involved.
There have been multiple reports about the violations under FCRA rules. What’s the foundation's stand on that?
Neither have we violated anything, nor did we get any showcause notice. Our bank statements and annual report had to be submitted because we wanted to de-register from the FCRA. We registered as per the law in 2016. After five months, the law was nullified. Indian companies no longer came under the FCRA. Only for five months it was needed. In June, we were no longer under the FCRA. Registering takes time, but de-registering takes more time.
We submitted our application in June and got our acknowledgement. Then they sought many reports from us in June. Which we did and it takes time.
Meanwhile, they told us verbally that we would be de-registered and we are one of the very few people who asked for de-registration. We submitted whatever reports they sought from us and they were happy. This year, in January, we said we require in writing a letter stating you are not under FCRA, and we got it finally. That is the only thing.
So you asked for the de-registration because you don’t meet the criteria, as simple as that?
We don’t require because we are not getting any foreign funding. That period of five months under FCRA was because of government rule. Now, the rule has been modified. We said want to be de-registered.
What’s the source of funding? Is it entirely from Infosys Technologies?
It is entirely from Infosys Technologies. We get a good funding of Rs 400 crore a year. Why should we take (money) from anybody else. And, we are more concerned about transparency.
There is nothing to hide in whatever we do. There is no violation of any law or taxes (evasion). Infosys Foundation comes under 80G. Anybody can come and see our work and what we have done. What we are going to do.
How has this affected your work?
We feel disappointed that people don’t read. They read only the different headlines. Nobody goes into the content. Nobody wants to know in detail what has happened. That is not correct. Truth is we are law abiding and transparent — both Infosys Technologies and Infosys Foundation. We are both same and we don’t do such things. Even if there was monetary benefit, we would still not have done because we want to be straight. We are straight.
So the foundation is today carrying on with its work, there are no changes, no blocks after this de-registration?
We are carrying on with our work. In Odisha, there is no water or food. No lights. That’s a major problem. For the next two three months, we will concentrate only on that. Working with volunteers, opening a kitchen, giving free food to everybody — these are all that we are doing.