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Why aren’t we punishing elite white-collar crime, asks Narayana Murthy

Thursday, 13 January 2011 - 2:30am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Murthy was responding to questions from the media after a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and social change at the Infosys campus.

NR Narayana Murthy lamented on Wednesday “large-scale white-collar crimes taking place in the country” and called for exemplary punishment to such scamsters.

“There should be very heavy punishment commensurate with the benefit that those people have indeed gained. If you have quick, commensurate punishment, things will be alright,” the Infosys chief mentor said, adding, “Today, we have so many cases where elite... they just don’t get punished even though they have committed huge crimes. That’s the problem with this society.”

Murthy was responding to questions from the media after a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and social change at the Infosys campus.

His remarks come at a time when corruption issues are dominating the country’s political landscape.

“Whether there are scams or not, it’s extremely important to run your business legally, ethically. That’s the only way to run business. It has to be done like that. There is no other way. It’s like saying: should I follow the rules of the road when I am driving. It’s good for you, good for others, for everybody,” Murthy said.

On tackling corruption in general, he said: “We will have to get more transparent, fairer and have a more open set of rules and implementation of rules, so that you know there is no chance for corruption.”

Other corporate bigwigs agreed. “White-collar crimes are rising but it should not be said that we are in a state of panic,” Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej said.

“It is perhaps a reflection of present-day society where people want to get rich quickly,” he said, adding, “Corporates should tighten mechanisms, not wait for fraud to happen.”

Corruption is a major issue in India, Bajaj Group chairman Rahul Bajaj said. “So why should we get worried only about white-collar corruption? No company can give 100% guarantee that no crime would be committed. If one or two people are involved in a wrong act, they will be caught. But if the whole top management is corrupt, you cannot do anything.”

— With inputs from Varun Sood & PTI


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