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Phaneesh Murthy sacked, terms sexual harassment charges as 'extortion'

Phaneesh Murthy sacked, terms sexual harassment charges as 'extortion'

Phaneesh Murthy, who has been sacked as chief executive of iGate, says he will rigourously defend the charges of sexual harassment brought against him by a subordinate that led to his termination from the company. Mr Murthy is one of India's best-known IT executives. (Read: Who is Phaneesh Murhty)
"A lady called Araceli Roiz, who is the IR (investor relations) head of iGate, filed charges claiming sexual harassment case. I believe that the charges are completely false, but it is pursuant to a relationship I had with her. (Read the complete story here)

"The company thought that I have violated the company policy and terminated my employment. I don't believe I have violated the company's policy," Mr Murthy said.
Earlier in the day, the California-based outsourcing firm sacked Mr Murthy for not disclosing his relationship with a subordinate after investigating him for sexual harassment. (Read: iGate's statement on Mr Murthy)

This is the second time when Mr Murthy, 49, has had to leave a company because of allegations of sexual misconduct. He left Infosys in 2002 after a sexual harassment lawsuit against him and the company was settled out of court. (Read: Why Phaneesh Murthy had to quit Infosys)
Terming the charges of sexual harassment as "extortion", Mr Murthy said, the reality of it is ever since the first case was public anybody feels that they have an absolute easy way to collect money...
Mr Murthy said the charges were filed a few days ago, though, he claimed, he had been in a relationship with the employee for the last few months.
"It was just a personal relationship... If any two people in a company have a relationship, it has to be informed. It's a small note in an employee handbook somewhere...That's what it is," Mr Murthy said.

His comments perhaps allude that he was not aware that he had to report this relationship to his superiors as mandated by the company.

"If you look at your employee handbook, it might very well be there," Mr Murthy told reporters.
On a question about the odds that the same person will be charged for sexual misconduct twice, Mr Murthy said, "It's the same lawyer... representing both people. Now, do you think the odds are different?"

(With inputs from Reuters)

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