Whistleblower accuses Petronet-LNG boss Singh

Vol 22, PW 6 (10 Jan 19) People & Policy

Petronet-LNG boss Prabhat Singh is facing bullying accusations by an anonymous company 'whistleblower'.

On December 3 the 'whistleblower', whose identity is unknown to this report, wrote to Narendra Modi asking for his protection against alleged "mala-fide victimisation" by Singh who he accuses of being driven by a "personal agenda." He writes: "Singh has violated sub-section (10) of section 177 of the Companies Act, 2013, which provides a 'whistleblower' mechanism to employees of a company to report genuine concerns."

He further points out that sub-section 10 calls for "adequate safeguards" against victimisation and provides a 'whistleblower' with access to the chairman of the audit committee constituted by the Board, which comprises at least three directors, provides financial oversight, and ensures compliance with laws and regulations. "I've been issued a charge-sheet through no fault of my own and transferred from one department to another without reason," complains the aggrieved employee, who claims the oil ministry constituted an inquiry committee to examine his complaint against Singh, made in September 2018.

"(But) even after three months the committee has not submitted its report," he says. He further alleges the three-member inquiry committee "could have been influenced" by Singh who was not asked to go on leave during the investigation.

He cited the example of former ICICI Bank chief (Ms) Chanda Kocchar who was forced to take indefinite leave in May 2018 over favouritism claims and eventually stepped down.