Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) has put in place an official policy for whistle-blowers as part of the effort to meet the higher corporate governance standards introduced under the new Companies Act.
A BHEL official said the new policy aims to ensure that the identity of the whistle-blower will not be revealed and the person exposing corruption or other misdeeds of higher-ups is not subjected to any victimisation.
Under the policy, any other employee assisting in the investigation or furnishing evidence in respect of a complaint will also be protected. However, the policy makes it clear that no protection would be provided from disciplinary action in case the whistle-blower makes a false, motivated or vexatious complaint.
As part of safeguard measures, it has been suggested that the text of the complaint should be carefully drafted so as not to give any details or clue as to the whistle blower's identity.
However, the details of the complaint should be specific and verifiable. Complaints should be addressed to the competent authority or audit committee chairman of the company as the case may be. Then the matter would be referred to the screening committee, which will take a call within one week on whether to proceed further.
In instances where the complaint is against a board level executive, the same would be referred to the Department of Heavy Industry's chief vigilance officer as BHEL comes under Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Ministry.
This is in accordance with the guidelines of the CVC and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
To ensure better corporate governance standards and transparency, the new Companies Act requires corporates to have in place a vigilance mechanism for directors and employees to report genuine concerns. The listing agreement between companies and stock exchanges also has a similar provision.