Phaneesh Murthy Scandal – Who's at Fault?

If one were to see the number of articles on IGate’s ex-CEO Phaneesh Murthy’s recent scandal, one would instantly feel that this man must be an ogre who eats nubile maidens for breakfast! Look at his past record: he was sacked earlier from Infosys Ltd., for the same reason as now – sexual harassment. So who is the culprit here? Is it only Phaneesh Murthy, is it the lady in question (do understand that she was the head of her department) or is it IGate which employed a tainted individual for its top post, made the most of it and then gave him the royal boot when faced with a problem?

IGate is definitely no babe-in-the-woods. It knew about the problems that cost Phaneesh his job at Infosys Ltd. If the board of directors of IGate overlooked these problems while hiring Phaneesh, it is obvious that they knew that the benefit of hiring Phaneesh was way more than the cost of facing a sexual harassment case in the future. And Phaneesh did do his best for this company. Phaneesh was the face of IGate and was responsible for bringing to the table the takeover of Patni Computers and many million dollar deals. Obviously the colour of money was brighter than the stain in his character.

Today IGate wants to show the world that they have a reputation to protect and that they will not tolerate any sexual misconduct in the company. Right! Zero tolerance policy in action when forced to face a lawsuit.

“Ms Araceli Roiz was dependent on her continued employment for her basic living expenses and, further, Mr Murthy conditioned her further employment and career advancement opportunities on her entering into a relationship with him which, eventually and reluctantly, she did.” This is the statement given by Ms. Roiz’s law firm which is fighting her case, as the reason for her becoming a victim to Phaneesh’s roving eye. Now to a lay person like me it translates as Ms. Roiz used Phaneesh too sufficiently enough to rise higher in her post at IGate ie. career advancement, howsoever ‘unwilling’. Ms. Roiz was the chief of PR in IGate … definitely she could have opted to look for employment elsewhere. She is no teenager, she is a mature educated lady ... In fact her behavior reminded me of a Hindi film side-heroine who becomes pregnant thanks to the villain.

And finally Phaneesh Murthy, the villain of the piece! One wonders about the value systems that were indoctrinated into him when he was young. He is married, he is educated and he is rich. Sounds like the perfect cocktail for becoming a hero and instead he behaves like a lustful beast. Not once, but many times, with total impunity. One would have thought that after Infosys he would have learnt his lessons and would savor the gift of a second chance. But his ego and megalomania led him to manipulate another woman, treating her as a lesser human being. His suggestion to Ms. Roiz to abort his baby was not just cold hearted, it was ruthless. For him women are to be treated as toys or tissue papers – use and throw. When people in his position repeat such offenses, it sends a strong wrongful message to all the male employees in the company. Such an action should not be tolerated in the least, else many more women will fall prey to such behavior at IGate and many other companies. All that women have worked for to be treated as equal partners at the business place, will go to naught otherwise. Mr. Phaneesh Murthy deserves a strong verdict against his behavior and more than the Honorable Judge I hope his circle of friends and relatives will do it.


More by :  Rati Hegde

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Views: 3669      Comments: 9

Comment I think both she and the company are framing him.

15-Apr-2019 01:59 AM

Comment i do agree with this article.Like Phaneesh, she too had the responsibility of informing the authority about her relationship. even she did not do so, Then why is she not sacked still.

I have been in reading articles from the time she joined the company she was forced by Phaneesh into relationship with him. If things were that worse why did she have to hold on to this company itself . If she was smart enough to get into igate , she could have got into any big company.

Now she is pretending as though in whole of america she did not have any place to go except iGate. In America right from day the kid start to go to school. They are asked to call 911 in case of harassment or any abuse, then why is she pretending as though she is very innocent, helpless and scared, all these systems never existed or was she waiting when the time was right . to demand money. In a way this a sure shot lotterry of billion dollars.

It is difficult to believe , she is going around with him , sleeping with him, all this cannot happen without the women consent . All this while she too was having fun...

She is the Head of the department, that means managing a whole bunch of people. If her state is this, she is suffering abuse, harrasement in an international company nowhere to go. what will hapen to those reporting to her

12-Jun-2013 18:56 PM

Comment @Vasan ... maybe we cannot come to any perfect conclusion about the people involved, but the fact remains that every member as mentioned above have committed an immoral act for their own gain. Now that one is complaining, all the rest are blaming the others involved.
@Ravi ... to expect Ms. Roiz to return the gains she made is laughable to say the least.
@Padmaja ... thanks for appreciating the article. I went through both your articles and liked them immensly. What you have written about the law being misused too is true .. that is why in this article i put up all the characters involved as being opportunists.
@Murugesh ... Every one in this case was an opportunist & it remains to be seen who is the one with the last laugh.

29-May-2013 00:42 AM

Comment when are fools like phaneesh who cannot keep it zipped up....and gold diggers like aircella roiz who kept quiet until she got pregnant.....we are destined to more news like this.....
One point which beats me is that is....if Phanneesh has harassed her.....what she doing till she got pregnant.....if her claims of harassment was true....she should be filing cases for rape or attempted rape.....instead....the claims of harassment sounds ridiculous....this is clear case of consensual fling which went the heat of the moment...rather in a Monca Lewinksy blue dress moment....

Murugesh R
28-May-2013 20:05 PM

Comment A well written piece Rati. However, I have a different take on this and have expressed as much in my poem "Sexual Harassment at Workplace" posted here on 22 May'13 that has been rated as 'Editor's Choice'. Will also draw attention to an article of mine:
(Expert Column – The Other Side of “Educated” Urban Indian Woman…) 27-08-2012

Padmaja Iyengar
27-May-2013 13:20 PM

Comment What about Roiz. Won't she be doing it again. Use somebody's position for her own benefit. She and many many other female worker have been involved in immoral conduct and will be doing that again and again. Shouldn't she be made pay back all the money that she earned by undeserved promotions. She must have very much aware that all the advancements that she has been getting is actually usurping other's hard works.

27-May-2013 05:42 AM

Comment Rati, Let us not jump into conclusions. There are several factors involved. I am neither favouring paneesh & nor the female involved. A compromising dimension is necessary to understand this created crisis, which is predominant in this regard. The female is from a different culture & Paneesh is supposed to be a cultured person who was not at some point of time. If we try to derive the facts, we have to explore the mindset of both paneesh & the female in this regard to arrive at a logical conclusion. Winning, compromising & succumbing are the three predominant dimensions which are being faced by the involved characters & NOT BY US. We are not empowered to just jump into any conclusions based only on the superficial plane without having an INVITATION to either study or express ourselves in this plane.

Vasan K S S
26-May-2013 16:20 PM

Comment There is a saying in French - Jamais deux sans trois ... ie. if it happens twice, it will happen a third time too. But one hopes that this man learns from his past mistakes & that others at least learn from it.

26-May-2013 01:34 AM

Comment Looking at the recent developments, this is going to be another out of court settlement for Phaneesh.

It will not be a surprise if he gets himself involved in these kinda things again in the future, I don't see him regretting for the things he has done, if he can do it twice, he can do it thrice.

25-May-2013 13:38 PM

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