Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, should not be barred from the job because of deadly Godhra riots under his watch, Infosys chief NR Narayana Murthy said on Saturday in New Delhi.
Murthy is the first business leader to address the issue of the 2002 Godhra riots that occurred during Modi's first term as chief minister of Gujarat.
Asked whether the riots represented an issue which should stand in the way of the Modi from becoming prime minister in general elections due in May, Murthy told NDTV "No." He was speaking at the NDTV Solutions summit.
"There is no human being (who is) perfect," Murthy, the co-founder and executive chairman of Infosys, said Saturday.
"There have been lots of riots in India so the important thing is for us to say we will correct what happened," said Murthy, regarded as one of the business community's statesmen for his reputation of moral probity.
"We will move forward in a positive way," Murthy said.
Other business leaders have voiced support for the 63-year-old BJP leader and a recent Nielsen poll of 100 corporate figures showed 74% wanted him to be the prime minister of the world's largest democracy but none has tackled the issue of the riots head-on.
Modi has been accused of turning a blind eye to the 2002 violence in which human rights groups say police stood by and took no action.
While Modi has denied any wrongdoing, one of his former ministers was jailed last year for orchestrating some of the unrest and the national human rights commission called his government's response "a comprehensive failure".
In 2005, the United States revoked Modi's visa, asserting "he was responsible for the (lack of) performance of state institutions" in the riots.
Murthy suggested Modi be allowed to show "contrition" for the riots and "move on".
"The courts have not indicted (Modi) or passed any stricture or judgement," he said.
Many business leaders are convinced Modi, 63, can replicate his home state of Gujarat's economic success at the national level and revive India's slumping growth.