Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the article published in RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya calling Infosys ‘anti-national’ for glitches on the new Income Tax portal was “not right at all,” adding that the Union government and Infosys are working together to fix those glitches. On September 3, Panchjanya’s cover article accused IT giant Infosys of “acting at the behest of anti-national forces” after glitches were reported on the new Income Tax portal, which Infosys had launched in June. The Panchjanya article also cast aspersions on the potential influence of China and ISI over the glitches.
“That wasn’t right. I think they (RSS) have also made a statement distancing themselves from whoever wrote it. I think that’s not called for and rightly people have withdrawn from it. It wasn’t right at all,” Nirmala Sitharaman said, in an interview with CNN-News18.
“Strictly speaking, the government and Infosys are working together. I had called them twice and drawn the attention of Nandan Nilekani (co-founder of Infosys). They are working with us, they are being helped by the Institute of Chartered Accountant Association of India, they have also brought in some tax experts working with them and I am hopeful that Infosys will give us the product,” Nirmala Sitharaman told CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil.
After the article was published and caused much outrage, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh tried to distance itself from the article, with RSS's Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh, Sunil Ambekar, saying that the article published by Panchjanya reflected the individual opinion of the author. However, days later, a senior RSS functionary heaped praises on the magazine. RSS Joint General Secretary, Manmohan Vaidya, called the magazine a herald for Dharma Yudh (virtuous battle).
The article against Infosys had made several Bengaluru IT honchos uneasy, with insiders telling TNM that groups were abuzz with messages from heads of IT companies who worry that this could be a message being sent surreptitiously.