It’s not just Indian startups which are being rocked by scandals of founders and employees embezzling money from their own companies — scandals are being discovered at the bluest-of-blue chip IT majors too.
TCS has fired 4 employees after unearthing a Rs. 100 crore job-for-bribes scam. As per a report by Mint, a few senior personnel at TCS were accepting bribes from staffing firms for giving jobs to their candidates. A TCS executive said that TCS had hired 3 lakh people over the last 3 years, and the people involved in the scam could’ve earned as much as Rs. 100 crore.
The scam was unearthed after a whistleblower told TCS’s CEO and COO that E.S. Chakravarthy, the global head of TCS’s resource management group (RMG), the company’s recruitment division, had been accepting commissions from staffing firms for years. Following the complaint, TCS promptly set up a team of three executives, including the firm’s chief information security officer, Ajit Menon, to probe the allegations.
After weeks of investigation, TCS sent Chakravarthy on leave, sacked four executives from RMG, and blacklisted three staffing firms. ES Chakravarthy, who’d joined TCS in 1997 and was currently serving as a Vice President who reported to the COO, has been debarred from coming to the office.
The entire senior leadership is shocked,” an executive said. “This makes you question if there were enough guardrails, and how could such a thing happen. The disturbing thing is that we don’t know how pervasive and for how long this scam was continuing. We hired over 300,000 people, including contractors, only in the last three years. Even if 10% of the entire recruitment was made through selected staffing firms and the staffing firm gave a commission on every person recruited, you can imagine the scale of this scandal,” said the executive cited above. “I believe it will be at least ₹100 crore,” they added.
TCS hires a large number of its employees through staffing firms. These firms provide lists of candidates to the company, which then conducts tests or interviews and later hires them as per the need. TCS’s RMG group, where the scam took place, has around 3,000 people and places around 1,400 engineers on projects daily.
It appears that some senior employees figured out a loophole in this process, and managed to exploit it to enrich themselves over a long period of time. TCS is one of India’s most respected companies, and is highly regarded for its corporate governance, but it seems that even it fell prey to the machinations of some unscrupulous insiders. Which just goes to show that no matter how good the guardrails, it can be hard to build fool-proof systems when the participants themselves are looking to break the rules.